Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Not Jon Jones, that’s for sure.
UFC’s former Light Heavyweight champion and current Heavyweight roost-ruler is looking to re-secure his position as the Greatest of All-Time (GOAT) in mixed martial arts (MMA) by defeating Stipe Miocic at UFC 295, which will take place inside Madison Square Garden in New York, N.Y., on Nov. 11, 2023. Miocic has the most title defenses of any UFC Heavyweight in history, so taking him out would allow “Bones” to claim he’s “the best eva” in a second division.
To accomplish this feat, the 36-year-old Jones is working with Brazilian jiu-jitsu grappling sensation, Gordon Ryan. Earlier this week, video of the two grappling together leaked. Now, the two are paying respect to each others’ skills.
Ryan kicked things off on Instagram, declaring Jones was, “nothing but spectacular as a person.”
“There’s nothing I enjoy more than surrounding myself with people who are exceptional in their given field,” Ryan wrote. “This week, I had the luxury of training with Jon Jones, the absolute best in his field, and the baddest MMA fighter on the planet.
“On the mats — when Jon talks about normal stuff, he can come off just like anyone you know, a regular guy,” Ryan added. “When he talks about combat, you see an intentional shift in his demeanor and thought process. You see the gears start turning, and you see the depth at which he understands the sport. I threw some complicated sequences at him, and he learned as fast as anyone. By day 3, he was exponentially better at drilling than he was on day one.
“He is truly an exceptional athlete and I’m very thankful I could be a very small part in this upcoming camp,” he finished. “This is hopefully the first of many trips out to Albuquerque. What an honor.”
Jones returned the respect and admiration soon after.
“I was blessed to be able to spend about six hours a day on the mats with the greatest Nogi jujitsu athlete in the history of grappling,” Jones wrote in his own Instagram response. “I’m not sure if I can ever repay Gordon Ryan for the lessons I learned, the notes I was able to take. I do believe his generosity with his knowledge is rare. I’m forever grateful. What an inspiring individual to be around on and off the mat.”
Ryan isn’t the first person to note Jones’ ability to take new concepts and integrate them into his style. Leading up to his comeback bout against Ciryl Gane at UFC 285, Olympic wrestling gold medalist and UFC double champion, Henry Cejudo, was also amazed at how quickly “Bones” mastered things.
Jones will put all these skills to the test against Miocic this fall inside the hallowed halls of MSG, the “Mecca” of combat sports. What happens after that? Retirement is a serious possibility, which is too bad because it sounds like Jones is just getting better.
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