Former UFC light heavyweight champion, Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC), is currently preparing for the biggest change he’s ever gone through in his career. He’s in the process of moving up to the UFC‘s heavyweight division.
After reigning over the light heavyweight division for almost a decade, Jones vacated the title earlier this year. Jones became essentially bored at 205 pounds after dominating the division for so long.
Bones Jones is the kind of fighter that needs to be really pushed to shine. The former UFC champion always does his best whenever he realizes the real danger an opponent possesses. Whenever he’s not at all fearful, the performances suffer.
Jones detailed this mindset with ESPN stating, “The light heavyweight division was fun, but I wasn’t scared of any of those guys anymore. Like, none of them. And I think it showed in some of my performances. There was no urgency in some of my last fights.”
It was pretty obvious to me that in Jones’ last three UFC appearances, he just seemed extremely lose in the cage. No real killer instinct, he just more seemed to be going through the motions. As a result, he almost lost two of those fights.
We’ve seen Jones shine in the UFC. However, he’s really shined when he knows that a win is not in the bag. Just look at his rematches with Daniel Cormier and Alexander Gustafsson. After being pushed by both men in their first fight, he finished both of them in the rematch.
UFC’s new division increases the fear
For the UFC great, he needs a sense of fear to really pull out his best performances. He just wasn’t getting that at light heavyweight. However, there is plenty of fear and danger presented in the UFC‘s heavyweight division.
The biggest and baddest men in the sport are lingering and waiting on the former light heavyweight champion. A prime example is top contender, Francis Ngannou. Ngannou is the most terrifying knockout artist in the history of the UFC.
He’s an extremely large man with dynamite in his hands. An opponent like Ngannou would present Jones with more danger than he’s ever faced. That’s what is motivating the former UFC champ as he prepares for his heavyweight debut.
“With these next guys I’m going to be going up against, I respect these guys. These guys are intimidating. They’re intimidating as s**t. It just gets me up in a whole different way,” Jones told ESPN.