Jon Jones of UFC: Could he become an elite boxer?Written by Leroy Cleveland
Recently, MMA star Jon Jones stated with just two years of training he could be become an elite boxer.
(Image courtesy of Sherdog)
“When I started doing MMA, I found myself in the UFC about nine months after my first practice, so I’m aware that I have a mind for fighting," said Jones according to a transcription by MMAjunkie.
"I have a lot of faith and confidence in myself. I believe that if I were to hire the right people to be around me, that’s maybe four boxing coaches. That’s what the guys at the highest levels (have). Hire guys to come in here, and we spend two years focusing on boxing and only boxing. I believe I’d be able to compete with the best in the world.”
Only two years, huh?
At least Jones, unlike some of his UFC brethren, knows it would take a lot more than 4-6 months of training for someone with minimal boxing experience to compete with an elite level boxer.
But back to Jones' assertion....
For starters, it depends on what weight Jones would compete. As a 205 pound light heavyweight in MMA, Jones is more suited for boxing's cruiserweight division (200 pound weight limit). The heavyweight division would obviously pose a greater challenge because of his size. Most top heavyweights tend to weight 230 and above. Moreover, as a heavyweight boxer he wouldn't enjoy the massive reach advantage that he has now over MMA light heavyweights.
It takes years of boxing training to compete with a top boxer, if you have natural tools to begin with. In fact, many pro fighters have trained seriously for 10 or more years yet failed to reach a level high enough to compete with an elite pugilist.
However, Jones is a natural athlete and seems to have a natural fighting instinct so perhaps within three years (not two) of consistent training with top trainers he could compete with the best cruiserweights (not heavyweights). But he'd have to fight real professionals in order to develop.
He simply couldn't train in the gym for three years and think he'd be ready for a seasoned, technical cruiserweight like Oleksandr Usyk (15-0, 11 KO).
Jon would have to fight, successfully, against about 20 real opponents over the course of at least 3 years with the intent of increasing the level of opposition a little more each time in order to have a chance to hang with a top cruiserweight.
“Some guys are just winners, like it or not. I do not think that Jon Jones is the world’s greatest boxer. I just don’t know that I’m sure that any boxer in the world can beat him," expressed MMA Chael Sonnen to BloodyElbow.
Jones will face rival Alexander Gustafsson in a rematch at UFC 232 on December 29th.