Jones has turned the MMA world upside down. | Photo:
For his next title defense, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones
could face the winner of the Jan. 28 matchup between Rashad
Evans and Phil Davis.
He could also face Dan
Henderson, who’s coming off a win in November over Mauricio
Jones’ trainer Mike Winkeljohn likes how the champion matches up
against all three possibilities.
“They all present different challenges,” Winkeljohn told the
Radio Network’s “Savage Dog Show.” “I’m not sure which one’s
the biggest. Dan’s big right hand is always a big challenge. [He’s]
somebody that could be able to close that gap and find a hole and
try to get to Jon’s chin. That’s probably the dilemma with him, but
he’s small. I don’t think he can outwrestle Jon. I think Jon beats
him everywhere. I don’t think he can hit [Jones] with that right
While Henderson would bring a great deal of experience into a bout
against Jones, Jones would actually be the veteran in a matchup
against Davis. An NCAA champion wrestler at Penn State, Davis has
picked up the MMA game quickly. Winkeljohn doesn’t think his
striking is on Jones’ level, though.
“I think Jon kills Phil Davis with his standup,” Winkeljohn said.
“I think Phil Davis is a tremendous wrestler and I’m sure his
standup’s going to get better daily. We’ll see how much better it’s
improved when he fights Rashad. That will tell me a lot about where
he’s going with his training and what he’s doing.”
When discussing the possible opponents, Winkeljohn often mentioned
their ability to close the distance on Jones. He cited Evans in
particular as dangerous in that regard, but he doesn’t sound
especially worried about him as a challenger either.
“I think Rashad Evans is probably capable of closing the gap, if he
wants to, faster than anybody out there in trying to strike with
Jon,” Winkeljohn said. “But I think [against] all of them, Jon’s
got the ability to just pick them apart from long range like he has
with all of his other fights and break them down and then finish
the fight when it’s time.”
Of course Jones and Evans are former teammates. They’ve trained
together and were friends, at least for a while, but now they’re
more like enemies. Evans has expressed plenty of confidence in his
ability to beat Jones, but Winkeljohn likes his fighter’s outlook
on a potential encounter.
“I think he’s prepared to fight Rashad,” Winkeljohn said. “I think
mentally, I don’t have a problem with where his head’s at with
Rashad. He believes in his heart that he can beat Rashad. So no
matter what Rashad says, it becomes posturing. … I think Jon sees
that and I’m not worried about it.”
Listen to full
interview (beginning at 1:28:48).