After his successful title defense Saturday at UFC 159, Jon Jones explained his ground-and-pound strategy by saying he wanted to beat Chael Sonnen at his own game.
That was no mistake. In fact, attacking an opponent’s strength is a strategy his camp often utilizes, according to trainer Greg Jackson.
In an interview Monday with the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show, Jackson discussed game plans, preparation and more.
On why Jones wanted to take Sonnen down: “You always have to remember one of the dictums of our strategy is you don’t necessarily stay away from a guy’s strength. If you feel you can do better at it, you can head on attack it. If you take away what your opponent is good at, if that is no longer an option and your opponent hasn’t layered their game plan so there’s no real plan B, where do you go psychologically? It’s always a good idea if you know your guy can outdo the other guy at their strength to charge right at that strength and basically just break them mentally. You want to make sure you’ve taken away their safety zone [and] you’ve taken away what they’re supposed to do. That can have a very, very powerful psychological effect on people.”
On whether Jones set a positive precedent by declining to fight Sonnen at UFC 151 on short notice: “I don’t know. I don’t know if it was a good thing or a bad thing. I just go from fight to fight. The outside parameter stuff is not stuff -- because I’m not a promoter -- that I worry about that much. I’m not sure what kind of a statement it made. I’m not sure of any of the implications. I suppose that’s for people to debate. All I know is … Sonnen is very tough. He got dismantled, but understand that he’s a tough guy. Every argument that you can bring that Chael’s not a tough guy, I have a nice counter for. My favorite is the no punching power and then he drops Anderson Silva. Obviously he’s a very tough guy and he needs to be taken very seriously.
“Jon hit the nail on the head. Part of the reason Jon looked so good and is able to dismantle these people the way he is, is he’s very well prepared. That has a lot to do with it. I think people think that you can just jump in there and fight and win at the highest levels with no preparation, that you just go in there and fight, just do your thing and fight. It doesn’t work like that. You see the people that believe that, that just go in with no preparation, can get very far, but they’ll never be at the top, top level because the world just doesn’t work that way. You need to be prepared.”
On whether he feels vindicated after Dana White had called him a sport killer when Jones declined to fight Sonnen at UFC 151: “No, I don’t think in those terms. Dana and I are cool. It’s not like, ‘Oh, I’m going to prove to everyone.’ I just follow what strategy tells me to follow. Being prepared for your battle and fighting your battles when you’re prepared is a lot older than me, and a lot smarter people than I am have said that.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:58:37).