Jon Jones has long been regarded now as the planet’s best light-heavyweight, which could explain why he hasn’t had any doubts heading into a fight, since 2011…
Five years ago, Jones was coming off his championship victory, when he took out “Shogun” Rua in the third round. That September, Jones was booked to face former champ, “Rampage” Jackson, who had worked his way back into a title shot thanks to wins over Lyoto Machida and Matt Hamill.
Well, Jones didn’t appear to have too many difficulties against Jackson at UFC 135, and he proceeded to submit the heavy handed fighter in round four. But, at a recent media luncheon to promote his UFC 200 scrap with Daniel Cormier, Jones admitted the following (quote via MMA Fighting.com):
“The last time I had major doubt going into a fight, I would have to say it was when I fought ‘Rampage’ Jackson,” Jones said. “I had a lot of nightmares leading up to that fight of things not going my way. And for some reason, he just … he intimidated me. He really did. I don’t know what it was.”
“…I kind of looked up to him and idolized him,” added Jones. “Even though I knew I was a better martial artist, there was almost like a big-brother complex in there somewhere in a weird way.”
Interesting to hear, although, pretty understandable. As Jones noted, Jackson was a pretty big deal back then and still is, even if he’s no longer in his prime. After all, this is the man who came over from a memorable run in PRIDE, and ended the reign of Chuck Liddell (Jackson also defeated Liddell in a PRIDE fight several years earlier). At the time, many believed the power of Jackson might pose some issues for Jones, but as we’ve seen several times since, the overall game of “Bones” won the day.
Heading into his rematch with Cormier, Jones doesn’t seem to be short on confidence. Although, granted, if he had any doubts, he wouldn’t be airing that publicly.
UFC 200 will take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.