On March 2, in the main event of UFC 235, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will attempt the first title defense of his latest reign as he takes on streaking contender Anthony Smith.
While Smith is an undeniably dangerous foe, Jon Jones has been pegged as a massive betting favorite ahead of the fight, and the majority of fans seem to expect him to win decisively.
This widespread confidence in a Jones win, however, could cause the champ to get complacent — at least, that’s a fairly widespread worry.
“It’s flattering, but at the end of the day it’s a very dangerous position to be in,” the light heavyweight champion said at the UFC 235 press conference last week, discussing his status as a massive betting favorite (transcript via MMAjunkie). “When you are fighting a guy no one expects to win as the favorite you have to be smart enough and mature enough to stay at the drawing board, stay in practice, take your opponent very seriously. I take Anthony Smith extremely serious. He has 40 fights, double the fights I have. He’ll get my full, undivided attention.”
Jon Jones last fought in December, when he defeated his long-time rival Alexander Gustafsson by third-round TKO to reclaim the UFC light heavyweight title.
Prior to this victory, Jones was stuck to the sidelines due to a lengthy suspension from the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
What’s your prediction for the UFC 235 fight between Jon Jones and Anthony Smith?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 2/6/2019.