Firas Zahabi reveals he backed out of cornering Jon Jones’ first light heavyweight title fight at the request of GSP: “That kind of put a rift between us”

By Harry Kettle - March 1, 2023

Tristar Gym’s Firas Zahabi has revealed that he backed out of cornering Jon Jones at the request of Georges St-Pierre.

This Saturday night, Jon Jones will return to the Octagon for the first time in three years. He’ll do so in the main event of UFC 285, as he prepares to lock horns with Ciryl Gane over the UFC heavyweight championship.

There are, of course, still plenty of questions surrounding Jones and his current ability. However, that wasn’t the case back in 2011 when he was preparing to take on Shogun Rua for the light heavyweight crown.

As it turns out, Tristar’s Firas Zahabi was quite close with Jon at the time. He was even going to corner him for the contest but as per the wishes of GSP, he didn’t.

“I love Jon, me and Jon used to be really close friends,” Zahabi said. “Back, before he became world champion, before he fought ‘Shogun,’ I trained him many, many, many times. He used to live in Montreal. We spent a lot of time training together. However, when he fought ‘Shogun’ – I was supposed to be in his corner – Georges St-Pierre also had a title fight coming up, and Georges asked me ‘Don’t go. Because I need you here, I don’t have anybody to replace you.’ So I stayed. And that kind of put a rift between us, a little bit. I have to prioritize Georges over Jon.”

GSP’s Jones issue

“I knew, I was so confident he was gonna win. I was so confident Jon Jones was gonna crush ‘Shogun.’ So confident. I even talked to him, I said ‘You don’t need – there’s nobody in the world that’s going to change the result of this fight. I don’t care who’s in who’s corner.’ Lo and behold, he wins. Guys, don’t forget he’s the youngest man to ever become world champion in the UFC. Don’t forget, I told you about how talented he is.”

Quotes via MMA News

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Firas Zahabi Georges St. Pierre Jon Jones UFC