Jon Jones (left) file photo: Dave Mandel | Sherdog.com
Greg Jackson isn’t swayed by the hype surrounding pupil Jon Jones. The Albuquerque-based trainer sees a legitimate threat in Vladimir Matyushenko, who Jones faces in the main event at UFC on Versus 2 this Sunday in San Diego, Calif.
“I want to watch the pace because Vladimir is just going to try to get in there I think and stuff us. Get inside. Break us. That's my concern, him just trying to stuff us, smother and stay on top and he's going try and stifle Jon's creativity,” Jackson told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Savage Dog Show” on Monday.
Jackson, who’s built an army of standout fighters out in the New Mexico desert with fellow trainer Mike Winkeljohn, said the 23-year-old Jones has been drilled to handle the close-quarters wrestler, as well as the negation of Jones’ 10-inch longer reach.
“We've been working a lot of good inside stuff and wrestling and all that stuff so we should be well prepared for his game plan, I hope,” said Jackson. “I fully expect (Matyushenko) to come in and swing at Jon's head trying to take Jon down and then holding Jon on the ground.”
Matyushenko wrestled for his native Belarus before moving to the U.S. and becoming a two-time national junior college champion for Lassen College. The 39-year-old former IFL champion’s wrestling has been a major component of his game throughout his 13-year career.
Jackson believes Jones’ non-traditional wrestling style, which is emphasized by explosive split-second trips and drops, will hold its own.
“I think he's easily as good if not better than Vladimir only because of his unique wrestling style. He has a style if you haven't dealt with it, it's very, very difficult to deal with,” said Jackson. “Matyushenko is a much more decorated wrestler and has more experience but I think what negates that is Jon Jones has unorthodox wrestling... I feel very comfortable in the wrestling department.”
That’s not to say that Jackson doesn’t expect Jones -- also a one-time national junior college champion for Iowa Central Community College, which turned out the likes of UFC heavyweight contender Cain Velasquez and Bellator champ Joe Soto -- to stay off his back.
“I fully expect (Jones) to be taken down at some point during the fight and we'll be fully ready when that happens,” said Jackson. “If it doesn't happen, that's great. But we are definitely prepared with a contingency if he does get taken down… He's getting really good off his back. I'm not overly concerned with any one part of the fight.”