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Sunday, Mar 20, 2011

Jon Jones Credits Greg Jackson, Jiu-Jitsu for Championship Win

By Kelsey Mowatt
Last night Jon Jones continued to build on what’s been one of the sport’s more intriguing storylines over the last couple of years, by dominating one of mixed-martial-arts most respected fighters in Mauricio Rua, to become the UFC’s light-heavyweight champ. While Jones is the benefactor of an accomplished wrestling career and awe inspiring athletic ability, the manner in which he stopped the always dangerous “Shogun”, made it extremely easy to forget that the 23 year-old has been fighting for just three years.  
“I feel absolutely phenomenal; I feel so grateful and so blessed to be standing where I am.” Jones said after recording his thirteenth pro win. “It feels like I’m God’s champion and I’m very proud of that. Just three years ago I was in college eating Ramen noodles, trying to get money. Three years ago I remember not being able to afford coming home for Christmas, and I know what it’s like to be on the other side of the fence. Now that I have this, a world championship, it doesn’t mean I’m better than anyone else, I’m very real about it. Greg Jackson is a great coach and teaches us how to use our bodies to the best of our abilities, he treats all of us fighters like individuals, curves little things, twists little things for every fighter.”
Despite the fact that Rua has recorded wins over some of the sport’s most recognizable names in Chuck Liddell, Alistair Overeem, “Rampage” Jackson and most recently Lyoto Machida, the far less experienced Jones was the favorite heading into UFC 128. Jones had the substantial reach and size advantage, better wrestling and many expected that he would overwhelm Rua with his power. If Rua was unable to catch Jones on his feet, many observers rightly predicted that the BJJ black belt would look to attack the challenger’s legs in search of a submission.  There again, however, Jones had the answer, as the light-heavyweight consistently negated Rua’s offense on the ground.
“Greg Jackson has his style and he calls it Gaidojutsu,” Jones said in the post fight presser afterwards, when asked to discuss how his jiu-jitsu abilities played a factor in the win. “It’s a no gi style of jiu-jitsu that he formed to protect himself in the hard streets of New Mexico growing up. He’s taught me it and I think he wants me to focus my game on keeping great position and raining down those GSP like elbows. So yeah, my jiu-jitsu is coming along very strong; I knew I had to focus on it to beat such a well rounded fighter like Shogun and I’m glad I did focus on it.”
While Jones will likely take some time to enjoy what is the greatest achievement in his brief career to date, he’ll soon begin preparing for his first challenge as champion, training partner and friend, Rashad Evans.
“This belt is my dream, and it represents financial security for my family, and I’m not going to let anyone take that away from me,” Jones noted. “Like I said earlier, I don’t believe in errors, I believe in hard work, staying on the ball and I’m very aware of the ways I could be sidetracked and I’m not going to allow that to happen to me.”
“Rashad’s a great guy. I respect him as a fighter, it scares me a bit because he’s an amazing person, we have a lot of similarities, but he wants what I have right now and I can’t let it go.”
posted by Full Contact Fighter @ 1:15 pm
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