December 08, 2011
Jon Jones is getting be himself again. He doesn't need to engage in a match of verbal warfare at UFC 140, but he was still able to get off a few shots at Lyoto Machida, his opponent this Saturday.
Jones talked about getting "clowned" by Quinton Jackson well before UFC 135. He has no such issue with Machida, a man of few words.
"I respect him a lot, probably more than half the people in the UFC. Just because of the person he is," Jones told the media during yesterday's UFC 140 workout day.
Jones isn't having to amp himself up for a prefight.
"It is nice to have this fight. No one's talking junk. Everyone's being respectful to each other. Everybody's focused on why we should really be here," Jones said. "Well, as a fan it's great to here some smash talk, but as a fighter I'm here only to show my tactics. That's why he's here and that's what's going to make this such an awesome fight."
"It's interesting because everyone keeps asking me, 'how are you going to solve Lyoto Machida's puzzle?' But it's been solved already. I have blueprints," Jones said. "I really think I have more technique than he does, more skills, more tools. I can fight southpaw and do the same exact techniques and combos that I can do in an orthodox stance. That's something that he can't do."
Machida, once labeled as unbeatable when he destroyed Rashad Evans at UFC 98. The Brazilian was nearly impossible to hit at the start of his career. In recent fights, he's chosen to stay in the pocket more.
"When he started, he was way more elusive," Jones said. "Now, he engages a lot more. He likes to fight a little bit more. Maybe he gave into criticism a little bit. A lot of people said, 'Oh, he's boring.' Or maybe he just believed he needed to change his style, who knows?"
That may lead to Machida's demise on Saturday night or it may be his only path to victory against the very long and elusive Jones. Is there really any point to Machida trying to control the distance? If he tries, he may never hit Jones.
Machida is a huge underdog in this spot. His karate-style of striking is unique and it certainly gives him a chance to be the first to solve the Jones' riddle. Machida comes in as a plus-380 dog.
You can watch UFC 140 right here on Yahoo! Sports.
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