Former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has had a lot of time to work on his game as he awaits a decision on his second failed drug test.
While Jones’ mixed martial arts (MMA) future is unknown at this time, the pound-for-pound great is doing everything in his power to gear up for a memorable return. Jones was here once before and ended up knocking out Daniel Cormier at UFC 214 to reclaim the 205-pound throne, but was eventually stripped after United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) blew another whistle for banned substances.
Just like before, Jones is trying to improve himself daily so he’s even a better fighter when he returns (whenever that may be). “Bones” was already the best fighter in the world before landing in the USADA doghouse so it’s scary to think what he’s capable of doing now.
According to Jones’ striking coach, Brandon Gibson, the 31-year-old is beginning to improve his finishing ability and could be capable of more knockouts in the future.
“I think there’s still a lot of growth possible,” Gibson said during a recent appearance on The MMA Hour. “Jon’s in his 30s now, I think he’s really starting to develop the one-strike knockout power, we saw that in the last (Daniel Cormier) fight. Before that, Jon was like a break ‘em down, break ‘em down, break ‘em down, finish, where guys were never just out cold, unconscious. I think now Jon’s really developing a lot of power for 205 and he’s gonna really start putting guys to sleep.”
If Jones is in fact developing more power in his hands and feet then he could very well smash every light heavyweight in his way upon his return. He might even decide to take his new talents to heavyweight.
But despite his evolved capabilities, Jones would still be coming back from a long layoff. No matter how good a fighter is — and Jones might be the best — Octagon rust is a real thing. While Jones would have to overcome such a lengthy layoff when he finally steps foot back inside of the cage, his team believes it’s actually a blessing in disguise.
“He’s had long periods of breaks,” Gibson said. “There was a long layoff before the first DC fight. There was a long layoff to the [Ovince Saint Preux] fight. There was a long layoff to the DC two match. But I also think that this is a game where guys are paying too high of a price in training camps and sparring leading up to fights, so Jon’s layoff definitely has some benefits. But the lack of competition could also be a hindrance at times, so it’s gonna be a balance, but we never have a problem getting Jon Jones fired up.
“He’s a special champion, he has a very special mindset, and he’ll get in there and I believe reclaim everything that he ever had and more. I told him the other day that I think greatness and his legacy continue to await us. We’re not there yet.”
Everybody is waiting to find out how soon Jones will be allowed to fight. If he’s handed down the harshest punishment then fight fans may not see him for another three years. But if his suspension is reduced and retroactive to UFC 214, Jones could be back in the cage early next year.