Here we go again ...
One of the unfortunate things that mixed martial arts (MMA) fans have to deal with as the sport continues to grow is the influx of people outside the game that think they could hang with professional fighters if given the chance. The whole Jake Paul situation hasn’t helped — “The Problem Child” has built his career off facing smaller, older MMA fighters in boxing, where 90 percent of their weapons are stripped away.
Now, we have former NBA player and Indiana Pacers forward, James Johnson, claiming he could beat MMA G.O.A.T., Jon Jones, with one year of training. Johnson’s a big dude: the 36-year-old is 6’ 7” and weighs more than 240 pounds. He’s also practiced karate his whole life, and he thinks that would give him the edge over UFC’s Heavyweight champion.
“I would need a year,” he said on the NBA Rookie Life podcast. “My standup game is great but what we all know with Jones is he’s a collegiate wrestler, really good on the ground and that’s not my forte. I can get on the ground. To his level? I’m not there yet I’d definitely need a year to work on counters and defenses against it so that we can stay on our feet.”
Johnson claims to have an undefeated record of 20-0 in kickboxing and 7-0 in MMA. None of these bouts have been verified outside of his interviews.
“He started learning how to use your hands and your feet, what, after college?” Johnson asked. “Like, I’ve been punching and kicking since I was five, six years-old. The opposite for him because he’s been wrestling for that long. Learning all his wrestling moves. As long as I can keep him from going on the floor, I win.”
Things haven’t worked out so well for other big dudes who think they could waltz into the cage and defeat some of the best to ever do it. For example, 260-pound influencer, Bradley Martyn, recently got embarrassed on the mats by former MadTV star and Joe Rogan companion, Bryan Callen, who weighs 155 pounds soaking wet and is 56 years old.
Jon Jones has bigger fish to fry right now: he’s preparing for a Heavyweight title defense against former champion, Stipe Miocic, in a bout he hopes will confirm his dominance at his new weight class. After that, there’s a good chance he’ll ride off into the sunset with his impressive record rather than take on the next generation of up-and-coming Heavyweight hopefuls.
We doubt Jones will be interested in taking Johnson up on his challenge. We’ll keep an eye out for any classic tweet-and-delete responses “Bones” may make on the subject in the middle of the night, though.
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