Jon Jones is a massive, massive favorite heading into his bout this Saturday with Anthony Smith. But it looks like the UFC champ’s coach, the renowned Greg Jackson, is doing his best to make sure “Bones” doesn’t look past “Lionheart”.
Due to the top tier, comprehensive skills of Jones, his fight IQ, and his awe inspiring, athletic gifts, not many people are predicting he’ll lose the light heavyweight crown at UFC 235. After all, we’re talking about a guy who has yet to incur a legitimate loss, and has only been tested really, in a couple of fights. If you’ve followed the betting lines, then you know that Jones is the favorite to win with odds ranging from -763 to -1450.
Well, recently Jackson was a guest on “The MMA Hour, and during the interview, his abundant wisdom was on full display again. Here’s some of what the Jackson – Wink MMA coach had to say about Smith and the narrative surrounding Saturday’s fight (quotes via MMA Fighting):
“For me, the dangerous thing about Anthony Smith is he has nothing to lose, so he can really open up and risk stuff,” Jackson said. “Remember that I’ve seen some serious upsets. The very first time that I started working with Georges St-Pierre, I’d worked with him a little bit, but his head coach at the time, Victor (Vargotsky), let me be in the corner when we lost to Matt Serra, knocked him out. And that was not supposed to happen at all. Matt Serra won a reality show and it was one of the best Cinderalla stories that I’ve ever seen.
“So I’ve been there when the person that was supposed to dominate gets beaten and that to me is the biggest deal. That fearlessness, that danger that he presents, because I’ve actually trained Anthony Smith. I know he’s a great fighter, I know he’s very capable. So he’s a guy that’s the sleeper guy, we have to take him very seriously. If we don’t, we can get in big trouble really quickly. So keeping that in mind, that’s the biggest challenge for this fight. If he loses, who cares? He can really open up, throw bombs, and do all kinds of craziness, so we have to be ready for that.”
Sure, most coaches likely wouldn’t come out days before a fight and proclaim their fighter is going to cruise through their opponent. But, the fact Jackson is citing what happened to Georges St-Pierre – one of the biggest, if not the biggest upset loss ever – is notable. Especially when you consider Smith has a ridiculously high finishing rate, and that he’s dangerous in various ranges.
In other words, if Jones takes Smith lightly even at all (and it doesn’t sound like he is), then things could get really interesting on Saturday night.