Jon Jones’ last Octagon appearance was against Ovince Saint Preux at UFC 197 in April 2016. It was a performance that was put into question by most observers, deeming it a lackluster showing for the former long-time light heavyweight champion.
After another mishap and rescheduling, “Bones” will be facing current champion Daniel Cormier as the headliner for UFC 214. And as early as now, his striking coach Mike Winkeljohn is so far enjoying what he has been showing at the practice room.
“Everything is good. [Jones] is coming in with a smile on his face,” Winkeljohn told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s MMA Hour episode (via MMA Fighting). “I’m going to tell you what, Jon’s coming in and he’s finding new ways to hit people with elbows. He keeps bringing them real close to people’s faces and then just stopping with a smile, and continuing on with the process. So he’s got some new things that are even meaner for Daniel this fight.”
Jones will be entering the fight coming from a yearlong layoff, stemming from his failed drug test at UFC 200 last July, which warranted a suspension. While the idea of a tune-up fight would be a logical move for Jones to make before facing Cormier again, Winkeljohn disagrees.
“I don’t think he had any need for a tune-up fight to fight Daniel Cormier,” Winkeljohn said. “I think as much as I do respect Daniel, I think this is a good fight for Jon, because the first time Daniel couldn’t take him down. Jon was able to take him down. Jon was able to beat him everywhere, and I think that plays into our favor with this fight.
“We can expand on that and change some things that Daniel will try, so that he fails once again.”
UFC 214 is optimistically scheduled for July 29th at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.