On Saturday night, in the main event of UFC 239, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones defended his title once again with a split decision defeat of Brazilian knockout artist Thiago Santos. Jones’ continued dominance is always impressive, but this victory easily ranks amongst the least impressive of his career.
Speaking post fight, Jones opened up on this lackluster performance, admitting that he might have been a bit too relaxed in the cage.
“I need to talk to my coaches about staying fired up,” Jones said post-fight (via Flyin’ Brian J on Twitter). “Tonight I was just so relaxed, I was talking & laughing & dancing. I wasnt scared to come out here & work, and that can be a bad thing. You gotta be terrified a little bit to be sharp. My comfort was working against me.”
Jon Jones was vocal about his calmness ahead of UFC 239, and even seemed to realize it might impact his performance in the cage.
“It just feels all like another day at the office for me at this point,” he told ESPN in the lead-up to the card. “It’s just also familiar. High-pressure moments, tough opponents, fighting the next scariest guy, the guy who’s been on the tear. And it’s all so familiar right now. It’s almost too comfortable in this space. I would appreciate being a little more nervous. It’ll make me feel like I’m more ready, but I am ready and I feel great.”
Needless to say, it sounds like Jon Jones and his team will put renewed focus on his mental game ahead of his next fight.
At present, it’s not clear who he’ll fight next — though he is not interested in an immediate rematch with Thiago Santos, and doesn’t seem overly keen about a third fight with heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 7/8/2019.