Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic will finally face off for the UFC heavyweight title. It may be a couple of years later than the optimal time for it, but UFC 295 at Madison Square Garden is still going to be a pretty massive event.
“If anyone understands these two, it’s me. I have spent five fights with those two guys inside the Octagon,” Cormier said on his YouTube channel. “So to get to watch them compete on the world grand stage, it’s gonna be tremendous. I can’t wait!”
Some people will point towards possible bias or emotions, but Cormier’s knowledge of the game coupled with his unique experience repeatedly fighting and preparing for both men is clearly unmatched. The former two-division champion has valuable insight, and he shared just that as he gave his early Jon Jones vs Stipe Miocic breakdown.
The biggest key to Jon Jones vs. Stipe Miocic will be speed
While a lot of pundits — and Jon Jones himself — have focused on weight, size and strength when discussing his move to heavyweight, Cormier says that shouldn’t matter as much, especially in this match up. According to him, the key to winning this is speed.
“When I watched Jones in that fight against Ciryl, he didn’t look as good as he usually does. He wasn’t as fast, but in this match up, he will have to be,” Cormier said.
“Against Jones, while he’s heavier, I don’t think Miocic needs to be as heavy. I think Miocic just needs to be in shape. He needs to be fast, and he has to be present, if he wants to capture the heavyweight championship of the world back.”
Cormier believes that difference in speed will dictate how this fight plays out from the start.
“This fight will be determined very early, at least in my opinion. Because we will know from the very start of the fight whether or not we are seeing the Stipe Miocic from before or if we’re seeing a slowed down version of the former champion,” Cormier opines.
We’ll know that very quick,” he explained. “Because what we already know is that we do get a little bit of a slower version of Jon Jones. He is a little bit different than he was when he was a light heavyweight. No one could watch that fight with Ciryl and think anything different.
“The left hand that he threw that ultimately led to the takedown was a lot slower. Even he admits it. He goes ‘I gained 30 pounds, of course I’m going to be slower.’ But if Miocic is fast, if Miocic with his boxing background, Golden Gloves, is still fast, that could give Jones problems.”
Stipe Miocic is (was?) deceptively quick
Cormier compared his two former opponents and says that Miocic was surprisingly very quick, where as he thinks Jones relies more on timing and reads.
“The one thing that I learned in the fights with Jones and I, was that he’s very good with his timing, he’s very good at fighting his spots, but nothing is overly fast or overly quick,” Cormier said. “His punches (aren’t), his kicks are fast, his shots aren’t as fast, but he’s got great timing and the ability to really pick and find those moments that he can land — but Miocic is fast!
“You’ll be fighting Stipe, he’ll throw something and he’ll land, and you’re like ‘how did he get to me?’ He is fast. And if he’s still fast, he can get the job done. But if he’s slowed down, he’s almost 41 years old I think, if he’s slowed down, even a little bit, it could be a problem,” he said. “He can’t slow down. He’s got to be on his game. He’s got to be fast if he wants to get this done.”
Jon Jones’ one mistake at heavyweight
Jon Jones came into his heavyweight debut at 248 lbs, which was heavier than his opponent Ciryl Gane.
As Cormier discussed the Jones’ avenues to victory at UFC 295, he noted how focusing too much on bulking up was a mistake. Being a fellow two-division champion, Cormier says Jones gaining too much weight negated a lot of their advantages over most heavyweights.
“On the Jones side, he’s just got to be Jon Jones,” Cormier said. “He’s good. He’s talented. If you ask me in their prime, who would win this fight, after fighting them both? I would probably say Jones, especially if he’s fighting at light heavyweight.
“The one thing that confuses me about Jon Jones at heavyweight, and I wonder if that’ll change… Why did he feel he had to gain a whole bunch of weight? He didn’t need to get bigger!” Cormier said. “I don’t know if Jon Jones competes any better if he weighed 250 or if he weighed in at 230 pounds or 227. I think even at 227, he would be okay at heavyweight.
“Because then he would maintain that speed that he had, which I believe would give a lot of the heavyweights problems,” Cormier said. “That’s why I gave them problems. You’re fast for them, they’re a bit too slow.
“That’s the only mistake I thought he made in his first time up at heavyweight. He got heavy. He didn’t need to. I wonder if now, knowing who Stipe is, if he’s going to come down in weight,” he said.
“Like I said, this fight will be determined very early. If Stipe slows down, how does Jones look on the scale, has Jones lost weight? That’s gonna be important.”
As Cormier noted, Miocic really isn’t a big heavyweight, and only weighed 230.5 and 233 lbs. for their last two fights against each other. Concerns about slowing down is also valid, as Miocic will be 41-years-old by the time he fights Jones at UFC 295. By then, he will also have been inactive for almost three years.
Jon Jones, who is also no stranger to inactivity due to numerous outside issues — and just bulking up for three years? — will surprisingly be the far more active fighter at UFC 295. If they do make it to the event, it would mean Jones gets to fight twice in a calendar year, which would be something he has only done one other time in the last decade.
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