Former UFC Light-Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones has had his well-documented demons and problems to overcome outside of the octagon and he is very much a divisive sportsman. But his achievements inside the cage cannot be denied, that is where Jones truly shines and he has already established himself as one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time.
He faces Ovince Saint-Preux at UFC 197 on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas for the Light-Heavyweight interim title belt and in the absence of Daniel Cormier the bookies have Jones as a big favourite to get the job done in style.
Jon Jones was preparing to fight the champion Daniel Cormier – who won Jones’ vacant belt against Anthony Rumble Johnson when Jones was banned for the last 4-5 months. By all accounts Jones is now clean, training hard and hungrier than ever. Sure, Cormier is the name on the mind of Jon Jones, but he cannot afford to take Saint-Preux lightly, a man who has fought some of the best in the division and comes here on the back of two excellent wins. A man with nothing to lose is a very dangerous man indeed and he can put anyone to sleep at a moment’s notice.
But surely this is a huge opportunity for Jon Jones to showcase his skills and get back to the top of his sport, where he belongs, and set up a mouth-watering second fight between himself and Cormier later in the year. The interim belt isn’t what he wants, but it’s a starting point and a means to blow away any cobwebs collected from his time outside of the sport.
In terms of how he will get the fight finished, it is a bit tricky. He’s likely to want to make a statement and his strength and superior wrestling should allow him to get Saint-Preux to the floor. Jones has an underrated submission game and could well be able to set up a guillotine choke to get the job done, perhaps in round 2 or if we’re lucky at bigger odds, round 3.