Former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Dan Henderson appeared on Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour and spoke about the keys to beating UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones:
“I think it all has to do with – you gotta commit to being offensive, throwing those punches – getting on the inside and staying outside that reach. A lot of it is pressuring him, cutting him off. A lot of times it’s tough to do, tough to implement sometimes, to keep a guy always on the defense, keep pressuring him…but against some like Jon that should be the game plan.”
I mentioned the same thing in my breakdown of the Evans vs. Jones fight prior to UFC 145. There’s no doubt that’s it’s easier to say than do, but the game plans that guys have been using in the past certainly have not worked. I think the greatest attribute of Jon Jones is that he makes his opponents fight HIS fight, and that’s what the best of the best do. The crazy thing is that Rashad Evans said similar things about what it takes to beat Jon Jones and already had the advantage of training with him and going against that reach advantage, yet was unable to execute the game plan required to beat the champion.
Jones doesn’t respond well to pressure as he will move straight backwards when opponents come forward with punches. The Machida fight is a prime example of this as he was able to score multiple times in the first round of their fight with this method. This is something Jones has been doing his whole career, and I thought he may have corrected this by now, but it’s still something he has a habit of doing.. Check the video below at the :38 and :47 mark:
It’ll be interesting to see if the straight forward style of Henderson translates into success as he will surely look to land the “H-bomb” right hand of his that have put many fighters away. I gave Rashad a 40% chance of beating Jon Jones. What percentage do you assign to Henderson against Jones?