Many fans feel that Jon Jones has the talent but not necessarily the experience to beat Mauricio “Shogun” Rua on Saturday night at UFC 128. Whether that’s true or not remains to be seen, but one thing Jon Jones isn’t short on is confidence. As some have already asked though, is Jones too confident? He already told Versus’ Ariel Helwani that he can hear Bruce Buffer announcing him as “New UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Johnny Bones Jones!” Last night, he took it one step further in the Countdown to UFC 128 preview special with this little nugget.
“It’s funny, I’ve been doing some autograph signings and I’ve been signing lately ‘Jon Jones Champion 2011,’ almost as if I’ve spoken it into existence. I just think it’s crazy.”
Whether you see that as positive thinking or putting the cart before the horse, Jones seems to think he has good reason to be so confident about the biggest fight of his life. Despite the abbreviated preparation time for this fight, Jones feels like he knows Shogun’s game inside and out because he was Shogun when he was helping his teammate, Rashad Evans, prepare for him.
“It [imitating Rua to help Evans prepare] will help me a lot,” Jones told ESPN.com. “I have watched a lot of Shogun’s fights, and I have seen a lot of his tendencies, a lot of things that he’s been doing since his Pride[FC] days — in his jiu-jitsu part, in his bottom game, in his striking game. I see a lot.
“While I was preparing Rashad, I was mimicking Shogun: his stance, his steps, his punches and kicks that he throws the most, the hand that he uses the most. I’ve been watching the guy too, since I was young. I’ve really started to understand what he throws and why he throws it. And we will see that when I come out there: a calm, a sense of knowing what I’m into and what I’m doing. I’m really excited.”
If Jones does have any concerns about fighting Rua, he didn’t show it at today’s UFC 128 pre-fight press conference. Jones took the old “he puts his pants on just like I do” saying to a whole another level when he exclaimed that Shogun “poops” just like he does. Later on, when a ballsy New Yorker took the mic and asked Jones in a stand-offish tone whether he actually thinks he can beat Shogun Rua, Jones stood up and matter-of-factly said “C’mon son, absolutely.”
Jones even tried to intimidate Shogun during the face-offs at the conclusion of the presser by invading Shogun’s personal space much like he did with Ryan Bader at UFC 126. It didn’t quite go as planned though as Shogun backed up and turned towards the crowd clearly confused at what Jones was doing and where he was supposed to look. Much like the face-off, Jones may find Saturday night that when he’s facing a fighter as dynamic as himself, not everything goes quite as he envisioned it.
Image via MMA Mania