With his win against Rashad Evans at UFC 145, the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s light-heavyweight champion, Jon Jones, is now set to face Dan Henderson next.
Henderson put on a memorable performance in his return to the UFC, defeating Mauricio “Shogun” Rua via unanimous decision last November. With his win against Rua, Henderson increased his current win streak to four rounds, and he’s looking forward to his fight against the youngest champion in UFC history.
“You’ve really got to get inside and fight with him and end up in the clinch with him a lot,” Henderson said during an interview with USA today. “Jones is better than most guys in the clinch. … [But] that’s where I’m most comfortable. At the same time I need to be real careful with catching one of those goofy elbows that he throws.”
Dan Henderson also made a valid point during the interview, criticizing Evans for not being aggressive enough with his takedowns against Jon Jones. Given, Jones’ solid takedown defense, I can’t really criticize Evans for not going for more takedowns at UFC 145, considering the fact that his few attempts didn’t even come close to being successful.
However, Jones looked vulnerable when he decided to pull guard at the very end of the fight – Evans was able to land some decent shots from his guard, prompting some to question his ability to fight off his back.
While I do think Jones might find himself in some trouble against an opponent who can successfully take him down, I don’t think Henderson will up to the task. Henderson is an accomplished wrestler, but he’s had some problems utilizing his grappling skills inside the cage, getting outwrestled by Jake Shields in 2010. He also had a hard time keeping Quinton “Rampage” Jackson down during their UFC 75 encounter.
As always, Jones doesn’t seem intimidated by his next opponent, and he’s eager to face his next challenge.
“I feel great that I already have a mission,” Jones said at the UFC 145 post-fight press conference. “He’s a winner. He has a huge fanbase. I’m sure the haters will come right away, which I’m OK with.”
Sergio Non, “Jones, Henderson look forward to UFC clash”
David is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and boxing practitioner who has watched and studied MMA for the past 9 years. Send him your questions @davidkingwriter.