Even in the lead-up to his last match against Alexander Gustafsson, UFC made a decision to move the card from Las Vegas to Los Angeles after Nevada chose against licensing him.
Q. How's your preparation heading into your fight with Anthony Smith - Do you have a specific plan? With over a year out injured, he faces a hard matchup against former Bellator and ONE fighter Ben Askren. But Jones has been swarmed in controversy over the last few years, especially when it comes to drug testing. He is a huge favorite against Smith (31-13), but Jones believes he is largely competing against himself.
It's a tricky matchup for Woodley, who will be facing a much more active striker in Usman, who also has the wrestling base to get into the clinch and avoid that trademark punching power than has allowed Woodley to get the finish in 12 of his 19 wins.
Jones dominated on his feet, against the cage and on the ground until he got in trouble in the fourth round when his knee struck Smith's head while the challenger was in a downed position.
But Jones is not taking Smith lightly ahead of their fight and when asked about his rival, the 31-year-old called him a "very worthy opponent".
Covington is a star in the making, a fighter who is not afraid to say whatever is on his mind which usually includes just the right things to get under both other fighters and the fans skin alike. "Illegal substances and illegal strikes". Smith was OK to continue but Dean docked Jones two points for the foul. Outside of the aforementioned foul, Jones was on cruise control.
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He added: "Today, above all we need decisions, much more than extra time ". He said: "They have deliberately made progress slow and hard ".
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"I have never had anyone talk to me while I'm hitting them, " Jones said.
Victory over Cirkunov would propel Walker into the pack of contenders in the UFC's 205-pound light-heavyweight division. "Some days, you look fantastic and some days you don't perform to the level you hold himself up to". "With that said, hats off to Anthony Smith". But while wins over Rashad Evans, Mauricio Rua, and Volkan Oezdemir have been enough to turn him into a contender, Jones is at a different level, and there is little in Smith's career to suggest he will find a way to beat the champion. That's not me giving Jon a pass, though. You've done a great, great job.
Jones' historic resume includes wins over the aforementioned Gustafsson (twice), reigning two-division Bellator MMA titleholder Ryan Bader and six current or former UFC champions: Daniel Cormier, Quinton Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, Vitor Belfort and Mauricio Rua.
That's why he's just going to enjoy the moment and then await the next opponent that the UFC decides to throw at him. "So many guys coming up.so many guys that are looking unbelievable, and that's going to be a challenge in itself". But what will likely go down as a somewhat forgotten footnote in history was how close Jones came to losing the title in disastrous fashion at UFC 232 inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
In the end, Jones did exactly what he was expected to do short of putting Smith away but it was a one-sided performance as the light heavyweight champion proved once again why he's the best in the world.