A lot of people were surprised with what ease Jon “Bones” Jones handled his opponent Ryan Bader at UFC 126 earlier this month. Bader (12-1) is known as a big powerful light heavyweight and is a true physical specimen.
However, the long and rangy Jones (12-1) controlled Bader as if his muscles were those of a bodybuilder’s and not those of a three-time PAC-10 champion and two-time All American wrestler.
So what was the secret behind Jones’ power? Had his coach Greg Jackson borrowed some of the Russians’ forbidden psychological technology, or was there a more practical explanation?
In an interview with the Afternoon Press Box MMA radio show on Wednesday, which you can listen to exclusively on ProMMAnow.com, Jones said he did not have much of a strength advantage physically, but he was able to break Bader mentally:
“Physically I don’t think I had much of a strength advantage. I think I took away his mental strength. Like right away, Bader being a wrestler and normally banking on the ability that he can take most people down, we figured that if we took Bader down right away in the first round it would really mess with his mental game. And starting off the first 30 seconds of a fight defending a north-south choke when you’re used to being in the dominance right away, I think that messed with his mind. And once his mind became weak, that made him seem physically weak.”
Normally when a fighter gets broken mentally in a fight, it rarely happens so quickly. Yet, Bader seemed practically incapable of putting anything together from the very start and it seems to have stemmed from Jones and the Jackson team being able to set up this strategy of “messing with his mental game.”
The scary thing about Jones is, he is only getting better, and smarter. Now, he just has to get through Shogun.