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Jon Jones’ Coach: Time Is Now For Francis Ngannou

Mike Winkeljohn, one-half of the famed duo out of New Mexico with Greg Jackson, was a guest on “Submission Radio” recently and talked about plans for a Jon Jones-Francis Ngannou heavyweight title fight.

Ngannou knocked out Stipe Miocic to claim the belt recently.

On how Jon Jones handles Francis Ngannou

I expect Jon Jones to just take the plate and hit a homerun. There’s no doubt about it. You know what, it’s about Jon imposing his will and fighting where he wants. And where he doesn’t want to, he won’t be there in the fight. So, it’s all about Jon Jones’ mentality and how smart he is. He’s got the experience on Francis, there’s no doubt about that. And Jon’s a big guy now, people would be surprised. He’s been hammering the weights, lifting. His power doubles, he can launch people over his head like crazy. He’s just so strong everywhere. And he hasn’t lost any speed. I think people are gonna have a great new look at the better Jon Jones in the future.”

On Jon being able to have his way with Francis in the wrestling

“Oh yeah, oh yeah. I mean, there’s no doubt. I think Jon’s got the advantage there. Francis can explode out of anything, but it’s also the conditioning aspect. People don’t understand that Jon’s cardio has always been better than his opponents, and that’s what he brings to the table. And you can scramble so many times, and at that point in time, now your cardio starts taking over. And the strongest man in the world is very, very weak if they don’t have any cardio.”

Why Jon might be faster at heavyweight

“Training your speed at the same time. That’s the difference. Motivation. Like I said, Jon is motivated for this fight, and people will see. Don’t believe me, just wait and watch. Bet against Jon, be dumb, but he’s bringing some speed to the table.”

“When you have time. Plus, he’s growing into his body, there’s no doubt about that. I mean, I honestly believe like Daniel Cormier, he was at 205, then he was at heavyweight. I think he was a better fighter at heavyweight than he was at 205. I think in many ways he was faster at heavyweight, because of the lack of weight cut, and because he carried the weight real well. Jon’s got a gigantic frame, and he is getting older, so he’s starting to carry that weight easier. And his cut was never hard at 205, but he is getting to be a bigger guy. So, slowly putting that muscle on and still working those speed drills, working those speed type of things, who knows, you might see a faster Jon Jones than ever before.”

What weight Mike Winkeljohn wants Jon to be at for the Francis fight

“Oh gosh, I’d love to see Jon at 250 for the fight. Depends how far out the fight is. But I see Jon being around 240 or so for the fight. Yeah, that’s where I see him being for the fight. I really do. With more speed than ever.”

On Francis’s patience being his biggest improvement

“That’s what I think is most improved about Francis, is his patience. Because, if every punch is a knockout punch, he’s easier to fight, because there’s no setups, there’s no feints, those types of things. If he’s always swinging for the fences, those can be seen. They’re big telegraphs, they’re coming out of nowhere. Unless you’re hurt and come in exposed, you should be able to avoid those. That would be the game. I think he’s matured. I don’t think he is that guy as much anymore. But there’s still a lot of that. He’s gonna wanna knock Jon out, and we’re gonna capitalize on that.”

On Dana White’s response to Jon Jones wanting the UFC to show him the money

“To be expected. You know what, Dana is the best in the world at the fight business, there’s no doubt about that. And for a reason. Jon’s the best in the world for what he does, and for a reason. So, of course they each went their own [way]. To be expected. That’s the game. There is a fight game where he’s got to fight Francis, and at the same time he’s got that game, the UFC. They’ve got to decide how much they want to sell that many pay-per-views and how much is Jon Jones worth to them to sell that many pay-per-views. And Jon’s gotta decide, where is that point where I’m motivated to take that risk to continue at my legacy and being the best ever to play the game. Cause there’s always a risk. Someone can always slip and fall. People can fall in the bath tub. Something can always possibly happen. So, is it worth the risk? How much money is worth it to take that risk?”

How much money the fight is worth for Jon

“Gosh, I look at the big fights. I think this fight can be easily as [big as] some of the big Mayweather fights out there. What did Floyd Mayweather make? A hundred million? I don’t know. You know, that type of thing. He was kind of his own promoter. So, Jon’s gotta share that with the UFC as far as on pay-per-view buys. But I don’t see why it wouldn’t be a fifty-million-dollar fight. And the UFC still makes bank, and is able to pay off a lot of the debt they have and go forward. I think the UFC needs a superstar like Jon Jones. I think Conor was the guy for a while, and he’s fallen off. But those big names is what makes the UFC money, ultimately.”

On Dana’s narrative that Jon might not want to take the fight with Francis, and people saying Jon is “scared”

“To be expected. You know, usually those are the keyboard warriors. They wouldn’t even show up to do a sparring class, almost always. Sometimes it’s a fighter, but usually it’s not. Those are just haters in that case. It’s to be expected. Jon expects it. I mean, he’s going into battle in the business world, as well as the fight game. So, it’s to be expected. Everybody always plays the game. It’s all about, you get frustrated, people act mad at each other. But if you know what’s coming, it’s not a big deal.”

On Jon saying for the UFC to cut him on social media

“That’s a conversation I haven’t had deep with Jon Jones. Like I said, I think it’s all about are there other promoters out there that can put together the matches for Jon Jones? Can he make the money outside? Or does he need the UFC? I mean, that’s the ultimate question right there. The UFC’s the top, and they are who they are for a reason. They’re the best at what they do, and they have a great value that way. And Dana understands that. He’s the one that built it. There’s no doubt about it. So, it’s all about what Jon can find, what’s best for him. And ultimately, he’s got to make that decision. And his team, all the coaches, we’re gonna back him up one hundred percent.”

“He would never leave the UFC if he didn’t’ have a plan. Like I said, Jon’s a master behind the scenes. People don’t understand. He’s hung out with Greg Jackson for a long time. And talking about understanding strategy, those two guys, they get pretty deep with what they’re doing. So, there’s always fakes and feints out there, and playing one thing. The art of war has been read many times by both of them.”

On Israel losing to Jan

“That was a tough one. I knew he was moving up in weight, there’s no doubt it. I think it came down to simplicity. I think Israel’s backing up with his chin up and his legs – I want to say, posting on his legs, he didn’t have his knees bent and straight back, lead to the failure of that fight. I think some small adjustments, stances and being able to hit some angles backing away would make a different on it. So, it could go the other way next fight if they were to fight again. But it showed a lot of holes in his game, there’s no doubt about it. He’s a tremendous fighter, they’re both just fantastic, but I had a feeling the champ was gonna keep that title in that fight.”

On not ruling out fighting Adesanya in the future

“Like I said, if it motivates Jon, if the money’s worth it to Jon. Jon’s got some money in the bank. So, ultimately, it’s gotta motivate him to do it. And he would be more than happy to take that fight.”

“If he wants to gain the weight and come on up. Jon’s at the top. Jon is the best of all time. Everybody needs to chase Jon.”

How likely is it that Jon Jones/Francis Ngannou actually happens

“Oh, it’s a toss-up. Like I said, nobody knows but those two at the end of the day. What Dana’s willing to give, and what Jon’s willing to take, nobody knows but those two. So, it’s up in the air right now. We’ll see. Who knows, there might be a fight in between, just because negotiations will continue. But I think in my heart eventually, the fans want to see it, that is the fight they want to see. They want to see the scariest man – in my mind I think Jon Jones is the scariest, but in their mind because he has that punching power, Francis is the scariest man out there. They want to see him fight the best of all time. I’m gonna tell you what, I think understanding strategy and knowledge, technique, endurance, outweighs strength any day.”

“I think the reason why it didn’t come through before was that it was not as big. The time is now. It’s coming. If it’s not this time, if Francis wins again, it’s the next one after that. It’s what the fans wanna see. They wanna see that superfight. They want the Ali-Fraziers all over again. They want the Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns fight all over again. That’s what people want. People want the gigantic fights. And everybody will show up to see it. The pay-per-view numbers will be off the charts. It’ll be something for everybody to remember forever.”

Mike Winkejohn predicts Jon Jones finishes Francis Ngannou

“Oh gosh, Jon finishes him late in the fight. I think Jon, after some ground and pound, will have tapping Francis out late in the fight.”

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