This Saturday, we will see the long anticipated return of Jon “Bones” Jones, arguably the pound-for-pound king of mixed martial arts. Not only is he making a return to the octagon after a 3-year layoff, but it will be up a weight class for the heavyweight title.
Fans have long awaited “Bones” to go up to heavyweight as it has been a topic of discussion for quite some time now. Before we jump into what to expect this weekend, we should take a look back on the incredible and fabled career of one of MMA’s G.O.A.T.s…
Jon Jones made his UFC debut on August 9, 2008 winning a decision over Andre Gusmao. In just his second UFC fight, he would go on to have another decision win over fellow UFC Legend Stephan “The American Psycho” Bonnar.
Throughout the years that followed, Jones accumulated wins over a who’s who in the UFC light heavyweight division. A list including but not limited to: “Shogun” Rua, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, Chael Sonnen, Daniel Cormier, etc.
Not only were the names of these wins absolutely impressive, but the way in which Jones was able to dismantle each opponent was truly something to behold in his early years. Each opponent would get stylistically broken down as the fight progressed. During this run, Jones proved the importance of elbows, angles, and always being a step ahead in terms of fight IQ.
When it comes to losses, the only in-cage loss we’ve seen from Jones was due to an illegal elbow strike during his bout with Matt Hamill. Jones has been no stranger to “Illegal strikes” both inside and outside of the octagon. From knees to grounded opponents, to becoming notorious for eye pokes and shoulder joint attacks.
You name it, he’s done it in the octagon…
Outside of the octagon, Jones has struggled to stay on the straight and narrow path as well. His string of failed USADA drug tests, and numerous run-ins with the law have often overshadowed his accolades.
After 3 long years, the pound-for-pound king looks to make his return to the octagon at UFC 285. Across from him will stand a man who is no stranger to the UFC heavyweight division, Ciryl “Bon Gamin” Gane. Much like Jones, it didn’t take Gane long to find his way into the UFC once he started fighting professionally.
Since joining the UFC, Gane has amounted an impressive 8-1 record, with his only loss coming from the former champ Francis Ngannou. With 2 submissions, 3 knockouts, and 3 decision wins, Gane has proven to be a well-rounded fighter and worthy of the top spot at heavyweight.
Saturday will prove to be a tough test for both men. For Jones, the paths to victory will lie heavily in his wrestling abilities. This is where Gane has shown a weakness, and Jones will almost certainly look to capitalize on that early. When it comes to stand up abilities, Gane has shown in recent years to be the better striker and seemingly lighter on his feet (even with such a large frame.)
This is truly a testament to the phrase, “Styles make fights”, because this weekend, we will see two very different styles clashing inside the octagon…