“I think [Vladimir Matyushenko is] very underrated. I’ve watched a lot of his fights — pretty much all of them — I’ve watched them over and over and over again, and I’ve seen him do some great things… I should be the underdog in this fight. I think Vladimir is tougher than Brandon Vera, I think Vladimir is tougher than Matt Hamill, and I’m going to train that way.”
—Jon Jones telling fans not to underestimate his veteran opponent, Vladimir Matyushenko, in their upcoming fight this weekend at UFC on Versus 2 There are a lot of fans and writers who believe it’s only a matter of time before Jon Jones becomes the UFC light heavyweight champion. Jon Jones isn’t one of those people. He won’t let himself buy into the hype.
“I think once you start to think that you’re the man, and you know it all, and your style is unbeatable and stuff like that, that’s when you get caught and clipped, and get humbled really fast… The biggest thing is that I’m getting more confident with each fight. Just becoming more experienced with each fight. It’s just exciting, I can sit home and watch my own fights and realize what I’m not doing good, and what I’m doing good. I’m just a real student of the sport… There’s just so much to learn in mixed martial arts. I haven’t even fought a Top 10 guy yet, so I can’t really start to think that I’ve made it.”
That’s a funny thing about this sport. You can look like a world-beater for a string of fights, then out of nowhere you look mortal and average. It’s all about the level of competition and how the styles match up, and like Jones said, he hasn’t fought top ten competition yet. If all goes well for him Sunday night, maybe he’ll finally get that chance in the not too distant future.
But if you’re looking for a timetable on a Jones title shot now, UFC UK head Marshall Zelaznik thinks he’s probably two-three wins away assuming he takes care of business against Matyushenko this weekend.
Image via Sherdog