Jon Jones might be moving up to heavyweight, but the three-time UFC light heavyweight champion wouldn’t hesitate to fight Israel Adesanya should the opportunity arise.
That’s according to Jone’s striking coach Brandon Gibson, who claims that ‘Bones’ would bust up ‘The Last Stylebender’ worse than he did Brandon Vera in 2010, a reference to Jone’s vicious ground-and-pound assault and TKO victory over Vera that left ‘The Truth’ with multiple fractures to his face.
“I mean, I’d love it,” Gibson told Submission Radio (transcript via Denis Shkuratov). “I’m sure they would sell a lot of pay-per-views. That would be a fun one for ‘Bones.’ I know he’d love to make that a dirty fight and bust him up worse than he did Brandon Vera. So yeah, I would love to see that fight one day.”
Gibson believes not only would Jones dominate Adesanya on the ground but that the former pound-for-pound No. 1 and UFC light heavyweight G.O.A.T. would also get the better of Adesanya on the feet, where the latter is perceived to have the advantage.
“Yeah, absolutely,” Gibson said when asked if Jones could beat Adesanya on the feet. “Jon’s gone toe-to-toe with some of the best strikers in the game’s history. Guys like [Lyoto] Machida and [Quinton] ‘Rampage’ [Jackson] and [Mauricio] ‘Shogun’ [Rua] and Alexander Gustafsson. Jon can hang with any of these guys.
“Jon, with the power and the skill set that he’s really developed over the last two years, I think he’s going to surprise a lot of opponents, a lot of opponents’ teams, and a lot of fans when he gets in there and gets to showcase his new skill set.”
Still, Gibson admires Adesanya as a competitor and admits that he uses some of the middleweight champ’s techniques as inspiration in his gym.
“He’s also brilliant when it comes to this game,” Gibson said of Adesanya, who is considered one of the best strikers in MMA “His ability to judge speed and time and range and angles and level changes is very unique. He’s already become a dominant champ at middleweight. I think he has some of the best feints in the game. He’s so good at using his feints to create the openings and in that split second, depending on the opponent’s reaction to that feint, identifying the opening and taking it. Just ultra sharp. Ultra-sharp defense. He doesn’t have any big, drastic movements. It’s not like that Dominick Cruz style that we saw, he pretty much over-dips, over-slips.
“Israel is just pinpoint making guys miss by a millimeter. So that’s something I really admire in his style and in his game and there’s elements of it that have definitely inspired me to try to put little sprinkles of that with my own fighters.”
Jones and Adesanya have been at odds since Adesanya first burst onto the scene in 2018, but the two have never crossed paths in the UFC due to their different career trajectories, with Jones focused on a move to heavyweight and Adesanya steadily building his legacy at middleweight.
Jones hasn’t fought since 2020 whereas Adesanya has notched multiple title defenses since then and is expected to return to the cage on Nov. 12 to take on former kickboxing rival Alex Pereira at UFC 281. The PPV, which features Adesanya vs. Pereira as the main event, will take place at Madison Square Garden in New York.