It remains to be seen if Jon Jones looks rusty when he battles Alexander Gustafsson for a second time at UFC 232, but according to one of his coaches “Bones” is doing his best to make sure that doesn’t happen. In fact, the former light-heavyweight champ is apparently on his way to delivering a “show”.
Jones is booked to fight Gustafsson on December 29th, in a contest that is expected to crown a new 205 champ for the promotion. The bout will mark the second time Jones has faced Gustafsson, as he worked his way to a decision win over “The Mauler” back in 2013, in what was one of the greatest title fights in UFC history.
UFC 232 will also be the first time Jones has fought since July, 2017, when he took out Daniel Cormier. But, after Jones tested positive for a banned substance, the bout was overturned to a no-contest (the former champ denied knowingly taking any type of PED and ultimately, he received a shortened, 15-month suspension).
Well, since Jones hasn’t fought in over a year, and because he’s only competed twice since 2015, some have questioned how “Bones” will perform at UFC 232. But, recently Jones’ wrestling coach, Israel Martinez, was a guest on “The MMA Hour”. During the interview, Martinez had this to say about Jones preparation for his comeback bout (quotes via MMA Fighting):
“I usually step in about six weeks out, kinda get Jon ready to go,” Martinez said. “He’s been taking the last four weeks getting his cardio right, getting a bunch of things right with his jiu-jitsu instructor, ‘Professor Tussa,’ Roberto Alencar. [Striking coach Brandon] ‘Six Gun’ Gibson is down there. So we’ve got those two guys on him heavily, two- and three-a-day workouts. I talked to Brandon Gibson last night, [Jones] got a great workout in at 8:30 at night. Jon’s ready to go, and that’s all I’ve pretty much got to say about Jon. He’s ready to go — it’s going to be exciting.”
“…You get that vibe from him. You get that energy. He called me the other day as we were talking to Yair before the fight, wishing Yair (Rodriguez) good luck, and I noticed his head was shaved. And when Jon Jones shaves his head, that means he’s all business. So it was good to see him with his head shaved. It was good to see him with high spirits, wishing Maycee Barber, wishing Yair Rodriguez good luck, because I cornered those guys. So, he’s ready, his spirits are high, and it’s dangerous when these guys can overcome some stuff and move forward, because Jon’s going to put on a show.”
We shall see what happens. When Jones came back a one plus year hiatus in 2015, and faced Ovince Saint Preux, he did seem to be a bit off. But, “Bones” still worked his way to a clear-cut, decision win over OSP. If Jones does take out Gustafsson in memorable fashion, then the argument he’s the greatest-of-all-time will be significantly bolstered.