On July 6, in the main event of UFC 239, Brazilian knockout artist Thiago Santos will look to succeed where so many before him have failed and defeat legendary UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
Heading into this fight, he knows he’s going to have his hands full. His main priority is simply doing his best to make Jones suffer.
“He’s a very intelligent guy, so I need to be ready for everything,” Thiago Santos told MMA Junkie. “I need to be ready for everything and to make him suffer everywhere. If it’s on the ground, he has to suffer. If it’s on the feet, he has to suffer. If he takes me to the fence, he will suffer. That’s how I see it.
“If there was a formula, or a secret, someone would have figured it out already,” Santos added. “That’s something we’ll see then. We’re working on it, my coaches are studying him, but I think he’s a very intelligent guy. He adapts. If the fight is bad on the feet, he goes to the ground. If it’s bad on the ground, he goes to the feet. If it’s bad at the center of the cage, he takes it to the fence. If it gets bad on the fence, he takes it to the center.”
Thiago Santos went on to admit that, at this point, he and his team still haven’t identified any notable weaknesses in Jon Jones. That being said, they do feel like there are some areas where Jones has not yet been tested. Those could be areas they could exploit.
“We haven’t really been able to see a weakness in his game,” Santos said. “But we have never seen him with his back against the ground – better yet, with his back to the ground and a hand landing heavily. Then, we’ll see. That’s something we haven’t seen, how he reacts to a powerful ground-and-pound from the top. But anyway, more than ever I need to be ready for anything. He’s a very well-rounded guy, he adjusts to wherever the fight is, so my strategy is to make him feel bad wherever he is.”
What do you think of these comments from Thiago Santos? Could he be the man to topple Jon Jones?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 5/16/2019.