Eryk Anders knows a thing or two about Thiago Santos, which is why the 31-year-old thinks Jon Jones would be wise to proceed with caution in his upcoming light heavyweight title defense against the Brazilian at UFC 239.
Anders, who fights out of Birmingham, Alabama, went back-and-forth with Santos in a Fight of the Night classic at UFC Fight Night 137, ultimately losing via stoppage at the end of the third round.
Speaking to John Hyon Ko of The Body Lock in a recent interview, Anders warned Jones that Santos is a ‘wild card’ who should not be counted out at UFC 239.
“He’s [Santos] a wild card, man,” Anders said. “He throws a lot of crazy stuff, he does the capoeira stuff. But I think that Jon Jones, he doesn’t let anyone get started. As soon as they start to find a rhythm and a groove, he throws like a teep kick or one of those oblique kicks and he totally disrupts your timing. He’s super long and athletic, he can wrestle which I think is Thiago’s weak spot, he gets taken down pretty easy. Jon Jones got submissions, he can wrestle, he can strike, he figures people out pretty quickly.”
With that said, whatever happens at UFC 236, ‘Ya Boi’ thinks ‘Bones’ will probably retire as the greatest fighter of all time.
“[But] once again, four-ounce gloves, a knockout is always looming. But we haven’t seen anybody get close to hitting Jon Jones except for Gustafsson in his first fight. And Jon Jones was out partying and having a good time before the fight. I think now he’s a little more focused and honing in on his craft. He’s probably going to retire as the greatest of all time.”
Given how calculated and measured Jones is, Anders thinks Santos’ best bet would be to try to catch the reigning light heavyweight champion off guard and ‘make it ugly.’
“Jon Jones, you’re certainly not going five rounds with him so you might as well go out there, get what you can get, hopefully clip him and make it ugly.”
“[But] Jon Jones, we’ve seen him make it ugly himself so it’s definitely a difficult puzzle to figure out. If it was me, I think I would probably just go out there, try and put it to Jon Jones and not let him get started. But a lot easier said than done.”
UFC 239: Jones vs. Santos takes place later this year, July 6 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
As for Anders, the Philippine-born fighter is expected to take on Khalil Rountree at UFC 236 on April 13.