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WSOF 23's caped crusader, Phoenix Jones, has cardio of 15 tigers, talks 'monster' training with Demetrious Johnson

Ben Fodor, a.k.a. Phoenix Jones, arrived in World Series of Fighting (WSOF) riding a mixed martial arts (MMA) hype train as the costumed crime fighting super hero of Seattle. Unfortunately for Jones, he was unmasked in his WSOF debut and now has to rebuild his identity against Roberto Yong.

Lucas Noonan/WSOF

Phoenix Jones was the man -- so much so that Ben Fodor seemed to be his alter ego instead of the other way around.

Expectations were certainly high as the real life costumed crime fighter of Seattle, Wash., was set to stop patrolling the streets for the night of April 10, 2015, and engage in a different form of combat -- catchweight MMA competition with Emmanuel Walo at WSOF 20 in Mashantucket, Connecticut.

Unfortunately, heroics outside the cage didn't lead to success inside it as Jones dropped a unanimous decision in his promotional debut. With the hype train derailed and the forces of good vanquished, it was time for Ben Fodor to sit down and consider his future options.

Like any good costumed crime fighter of comic book lore, one defeat did not spell the end for Phoenix Jones. He recently spoke with about his return to the cage against Roberto Yong at WSOF 23, which takes place at Comerica Theatre in Phoenix, Ariz., this Friday night (Sept. 18, 2015).

"Man, me and the WSOF universe, I'm not sure how they feel about me. It's really funny because I'm a hero everywhere else, except for in there. I feel like I'm almost like an anti-hero, like people don't think I worked my way to get there. They sort of think someone just dropped down and gave me a check."

Those same people may have felt vindicated when Walo picked up the "W" against Jones several months ago.

"Emmanuel Walo was a b---h but, he had a great game plan. I think people give him less credit than he deserves, because he's a punk as a person, but he had a good fight strategy."

For Jones, the loss is just more fuel for the fire, especially given the way he felt disrespected by his foe.

"He tried to spit on me during the weigh ins (plus) he missed weight and then called a week early to change our fight to a catchweight fight, which I feel is retarded. You show up and make weight at whatever weight your scheduled. On top of that he said all this crazy stuff, and then after the fight was over he was like, 'Oh I'm just hyping it let's shake hands.' No man. You're an asshole. I'm not shaking your hand, you're crazy."

There may be a place and a time for Jones to get revenge on the ne'er-do-well Walo, but in the meantime, it's now Yong who stands between Jones and his first-ever WSOF victory.

"I respect Roberto's hands, I think he's got a lot of hands. I think his ground game is questionable, I think my ground game is questionable {*laughing*}, so it's going to come down to hands on this one."

Even though Yong's MMA record (2-2) seems mediocre, Jones says he shouldn't be taken lightly given he also has boxing and kickboxing experience.

"I'd be shocked if he fell like a stack of cards. I think this is going to be a war of attrition. The difference is going to be that I've got the cardio of 15 tigers, and I don't think that he does. I've never been knocked out. I've been dropped a bunch, but never been knocked out. I'll take a shot and get up. I really think it's going to be a cardio game."

If you're looking for cardio and speed you need look no further than Jones' friend and training partner Demetrious Johnson, who just put on a five-round clinic in his most recent Flyweight title defense at UFC 191.

"I train with that guy every other day, a couple times a week, and he is a monster. He's always doing everything technically correct, even when he doesn't want to. He doesn't have an opinion. He's not going through '(Here's) what I want to do,' he just does what is the right thing to do -- EF-FORT-LESS-LY."

And while a lot of guys will credit Johnson for being too fast for the other Flyweights in UFC, Jones says there's more to it than meets the eye.

"I feel like it's his footwork, mixed with his speed. On just pure speed DJ is fast, but it's the speed plus the stepping away. He's moving in to hit you, and stepping away to get away, and he's stepping faster than you would step mixed with the fact he's leaning out of range at the same time, so he's almost doubling his speed."

If Jones can take any of that away from Johnson before the fight with Yong, we may see a whole new caped crusader in the cage as compared to his last time out. With a win in his pocket, Jones wants a Walo rematch.

"Once I beat Roberto Yong I'm going to ask for that fight. Even if he says no now, when he's sitting in his house broke in six months because he sucks and his style's boring, he's going to think, 'Man, I wonder if Phoenix (still) wants that fight.' And he's right -- I do! He'll come back, I'll find him."

Complete audio of our interview is below and complete WSOF 23 coverage can be found right here on fight night.


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