Breaking down Jones
Will Jon "Bones" Jones be able to defend his title for a seventh time on April 26?
UFC LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT champion Jon "Bones" Jones will be defending his title for a record seventh time on April 26. The word "record" tends to follow Jones, so to get a full breakdown on his skill set, we asked an MMA scout for his take, then gave our experts -- and the fighter himself -- a chance to fire back.
The scout: Jon Jones is a complete(1) fighter who mixes powerful wrestling(2) with dynamic, unorthodox striking(3). He displayed his submission skills with a fantastic guillotine choke over Lyoto Machida, a keylock over Vitor Belfort and a rear naked choke over Quinton Jackson, all former champions. He is tied with heavyweight Stefan Struve for the longest reach in the UFC (84 1/2 inches), and he maximizes(4) this advantage(5). He showed great heart(6) in his five-round war with Alexander Gustafsson, but that fight was likely much tougher than he thought it would be.(7) Will that have any effect on his confidence, or will it just motivate him to train harder? If he overlooks Glover Teixeira, he could find himself in a similar situation.
1. Brett Okamoto, ESPN reporter: Jones is complete but not as complete as he's going to get. People forget he's still learning a lot at age 26. He hasn't come close to reaching his ceiling yet.
2. Javier Mendez, head trainer of American Kickboxing Academy: If he had "power wrestling," he would have powered Gustafsson down, and he didn't. To me, power wrestling is someone who goes right through you on a double leg.
3. Jones: My go-to move still is throwing elbows. Whether I'm standing, in bottom position, in the standing clinch or in the mount, it's throwing elbows. I always look for elbows, and I always seem to find them, and they always find my opponents.
4. Mendez: To say he maximizes reach is an understatement. To hit world-class fighters with an elbow jab again and again is unheard of. Anyone who says otherwise doesn't understand how great he is with that.
5. Jones: When people use my reach as a reason why I have gotten to where I am, that's an excuse. I'd rather them cite my intelligence as a fighter. I'll study my opponent so much, I'm even familiar with how he flinches. After all those hours of studying and sparring, knowledge evolves into instinct.
6. Okamoto: The win over Gustafsson was incredible. As good as Jones is in every aspect of MMA, that fight showed his heart might actually be his greatest attribute. You have to possess a combination of skill, athleticism and mental strength to hang on to a UFC belt long term, and Jones does.
7. Jones: The fight was a lot tougher than I expected. He's right about that. I have this sick work ethic, but it just wasn't there during that fight camp. I wouldn't say it was boredom. I think my confidence was just too high.
Follow The Mag on Twitter (@ESPNmag) and like us on Facebook.
MORE MMA HEADLINES
- Ex-UFC champ Cruz suffers 2nd ACL injury
- UFC says 'Rampage' re-signed; Bellator denies
- UFC: Machida demolishes Dollaway in Round 1
- Evans to return in Feb. 22 bout vs. Teixeira