Jon Jones breaks down Ryan Bader
Jon Jones’ rise in the UFC is well known. He ends fights impressively. With his combination of powerful wrestling and unorthodox striking, he is exciting to watch. After his destruction of solid fighters like Brandon Vera and Vladimir Matyushenko, he feels that he is ready for the big time. He expressed that he wanted better fighters, particularly fighters that belong in the top five of the light-heavyweight pool. Regardless of his desires, Jones already expected that his next opponent was the winner of the Ryan Bader-Antônio Rogério Nogueira match.
Jones is serious about his craft and he acknowledges that he has to know every bit of his opponent to come out on top. Thus before the fight between the two light-heavyweights actually happened, Jones had already done some note-taking about the two fighters.
"I was studying Bader and Nogueira, but now that I know it's Bader, I'm watching all his fights, all his interviews – I'm obsessed with the guy," Jones said. "It's a great feeling."
Jones recognizes the physical gifts of Bader and his wrestling abilities but he could not help but express his dismay with Bader’s performance against Nogueira. He now believes that he had overestimated the Arizonian’s wrestling skills.
"I thought Bader was exposed," Jones said of the TUF 8 finale winner. "At first, Bader had me as a believer in his double-legs. I thought, with his strength and his power, he could double-leg anyone. But Nogueira exposed him in the wrestling department… big time. That was interesting to see."
Like Jones, Bader possesses explosive wrestling power but Jones feels that Bader’s weak cardio gets in the way as fights progress. Jones knows that he cannot throw Bader around like a ragdoll the same way he did against his past opponents. The three-time PAC 10 Champion, and two-time Division One All-American, is just too physically strong for that to happen. Nevertheless he is eager to capitalize on Bader’s weaknesses in the cardio department.
Regarding Bader’s stamina, Jones had this to say:
"I think he gassed out and I think he has been gassing out in his last few fights. With his strength, may come a lack of cardio; where he has the physical power, I think genetics doesn't allow him to be able to go a vicious fifteen minutes like he needs to, especially when someone really puts the heat on him."
Jones also expressed his disappointment in fighting someone with same style of his past opponents.
"I think Bader's a great fighter,” Jones said. "I guess the only disappointment was that I'm fighting guys with the same style, and that's wrestling/boxing."
In another interview he said,
"I'm actually really sick of fighting this type of style. Matt Hamill, Matyushenko, Jake O'Brien, they all have that similar kind of style. Their main focus is that double leg dive and sub-par boxing."
Jones may sound more arrogant than his usual mild-mannered self but he just wants diversity in his next fights.
"I'm ready to fight some strikers, I'm ready to fight some south paws, I'm ready to really mix it up," he said.
Still, Jones will not leave anything to chance. He wants to get to know Bader as if he was his coach or trainer. He wants to learn all of his habits and tendencies up to the smallest detail.
"I want to know what punch he throws the most," he said. "What makes him want to shoot his double-leg, where is his mental security blanket in the Octagon. You know, where does he like to shoot? Does he like to shoot in the middle of the cage or against the cage?"
Jones may feel disappointed but it is obvious that he still respects Bader's capabilities.