Within an interview with Submission Radio, coach Brandon Gibson was asked to measure the threat degree of Ngannou and Miocic as long as they become booked to handle Jones, a three-time titleholder at 205 pounds, and Gibson said he likes how Jones stacks against anyone in the heavyweight division.
Stipes the best UFC champion in heavyweight history, Gibson said (transcript via Denis Shkuratov). Perfectly rounded, plenty of championship experience. Hes shown so much resiliency like in the trilogy with [Daniel Cormier] and his capability to keep coming back. And Stipe includes a victory over Francis aswell. Hes an excellent, well-rounded martial artist, whos powerful, who has devastating knockout power in both of your hands. And Francis just has that X-factor. His size, his strength, and he is able to sleep anybody, from any stance, from any angle. He doesnt have to be balanced or be punching off his back foot. It doesnt matter. They both have their challenges and their own ways, and were likely to need to take all of them very differently. Very differently.
But Jon Jones gets the skill set to obtain his hand raised in both of these bouts. Theres without doubt in my own mind about any of it. Theres nobody like Jon at heavyweight. Nobody as dynamic, as fast, as gifted in every the disciplines like Jon is. And his IQ is off the chart. Not saying these other guys arent smart, brilliant fighters, but Jon Jones IQ and comprehension of his game is unlike anybody elses on earth.
Jones has been out of action since February 2020, with outside-of-the-cage legalities and a contract dispute with the UFC keeping him on the sidelines. During his time away, Jones has repeatedly stated that his goal would be to become heavyweight champion.
At light heavyweight, Jones is actually undefeated (his lone loss a 2009 disqualification in a bout against Matt Hamill he was dominating before landing an illegal elbow), nonetheless it remains to be observed how hell fare contrary to the largest athletes on the UFC roster. Gibson believes his team has prepared Jones the proper way and that Bones will never be at an electrical disadvantage.
You imagine of fighters increasing in a weight class plus they always placed on size and mass and power, Gibson said. You look at Conor [McGregor] from his 145 days, increasing to lightweight, increasing to welterweight and thats a 25-pound difference. Jon Jones, his weight is up there at this time and its a lot more than 25 pounds. So he could be hitting difficult and intensely accurate and technical and fast.
Ive trained plenty of amazing heavyweights. Ive trained [Andrei] Arlovski and [Alistair] Overeem and Frank Mir and Travis Browne, and Jon Jones is better, explosive, creative, dynamic than every one of them. THEREFORE I cant wait to see Jon make that walk at heavyweight. Its gonna be something truly, truly special, and Im humbled to become a section of it.
It hasnt been the smoothest transition between divisions for Jones. Apart from the aforementioned legal problems such as a Sept. 24, 2021 arrest for Jones involvement in a domestic disturbance incident in NEVADA on a single night he was inducted in to the UFC Hall of Fame (the case has since been resolved with Jones striking a plea deal) Jones recently took some flack on social media marketing over footage of a pad sessions that some critics found unimpressive.
Gibson just shakes his head at the criticism.
Weren’t attempting to show our sharpest work, right? Gibson said. Jon sometimes just loves to throw up a mix, sort of let everybody see where hes at. But weren’t taking a speed record or some power record at this time. All we value has been ready once the bell rings on fight night. THEREFORE I think its cool when he shares just a little snippet of this, but I dont let any fans critique of Jons mitt work reach me at all, cause I understand how it feels. I understand how fast he could be. I understand how focused and dedicated hes been the final two . 5 years working towards this goal.
THEREFORE I dont mind if he shares something. I also dont mind if we just keep employed in the shadows because all that counts if you ask me is that fight night. But trust me, Jon is hitting hard and hes so skilled at this time. His skill sets at an all-time high and he’s got so much power and athleticism and stamina along with it all. I believe the fans are gonna be really, really shocked and surprised if they see him at heavyweight.
Watch Gibsons full interview with Submission Radio here: