Hot Tweets: Diving into the ongoing feud between Jon Jones and Israel Adesanya

Jon Jones cups his hand to his ear | Esther Lin, MMA Fighting This week, the MMA world has been dominated by the ongoing beef between UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. At this point, the two are chirping at each other basically every day. So let’s talk about this quarrel and a smattering of other things. Who is winning so far? Who is winning the trash talk battle between Adesanya and Jones?— Christopher Howie (@HowieLikeMeNow) October 10, 2020 Might as well start here since these two aren’t actually set to fight so for now, the war of words is all we have. At the most basic level, neither man is winning because no one ever wins internet fights. Both sides just end up looking childish, dumb, or both. The only way to ever “win” one of these is to ether your opponent with the first response and then leave it be. Week long Twitter back-and-forths just make it appear that you are both Big Mad about it. All that being said, insofar as there is a winner here, it’s Adesanya by a mile. Why Jones would ever Twitter beef with someone is beyond me. There is more ammunition on Jones than any other MMA fighter in history and he’s not especially good at Twitter beefing anyway. Add in the fact that at the core of it, Jones has been aggressively pursuing a fight with a small middleweight while having a stigma of having fought A LOT of middleweights already is just atrocious optics. Remember that scene in The Social Network where Armie Hammer as one of the Winkelvoss Twins is talking about why they aren’t attacking Mark Zuckerberg and he says, “It’s going to look my brother and I are in skeleton costumes chasing the Karate Kid around the gym!” That’s what this is for Jon Jones. The problem for Jones is that he’s not cool and he never has been. Jon Jones is athletic, and talented, and many things, but he’s never been cool because being cool requires a level of comfort in himself that Jones has never had. Think about Jon’s beef with Daniel Cormier. Prior to that, he had always tried to portray himself as the good guy but his vitriol for Cormier peeled back the veneer for all to see. Since then, Jones has fluctuated between those two aspects of his public persona, and a man at war with himself is going to be hard-pressed to win a game of The Dozens. Conversely, even the most ardent Adesanya hater must admit that comfort with himself is not something Adesanya struggles with. The man very clearly does not care what anyone thinks of him and he is certainly not the one stirring things up every time he fights. Hell, this entire beef started because Jon Jones said one day he’d like to fight Adesanya, Adesanya said that sounded good to him, and then “Bones” got all up in his feelings about someone even suggesting they could beat him. Unless of course that person is a heavyweight or a guy who arguably did beat him already (*cough* Dominick Reyes *cough*). Then you don’t see Jon getting all extra about demanding a fight right now. Funny how that works . . . Brass tacks: should the UFC book this fight? Do u think Izzy/Jon is the fight that makes sense right now or is this fight will happen in summer of 2021 as Izzy said numerous times ?— HONG KONG (@AbdullahShwihdi) October 7, 2020 Ordinarily, I’d say yes but there’s one small problem here: Jon Jones is no longer the UFC light heavyweight champion. If JBJ was still the champ, I’d say absolutely book this fight. Jones would have more than earned that leeway given his reign and Adesanya hasn’t quite cleaned out the division but following the win over Paulo Costa, he will now be a prohibitive favorite over anyone he fights moving forward, other than at 205. It would make all the sense in the world. Except it making it right now would feel just a little less spectacular without the light heavyweight belt on the line. Look, I’m very much on the record as thinking that titles are largely useless but in this specific instance, not having one cheapens it. If Adesanya wins, then even though he’s the true best light heavyweight in the world, he doesn’t actually own the title. Is he going to go fight Jan then? How would that not be a huge letdown for fans? And if he wins, Jones/haters can and will say that Jones was less motivated since nothing was on the line. And if Jones wins, well, then he beat the middleweight champion in a non-title fight. Congratulations? I mean, honestly, this bout needs a belt on the line. But even considering that, it still might be the right fight to make anyway. This is among the most exciting possible matchups the UFC can put together right now and it’s a legitimate bad-blood bout between two of the best fighters in the world. That’s like catnip for Dana White. And if we should know anything by now, it’s that waiting for superfights is a dangerous, dangerous game. This isn’t a Conor McGregor - Nate Diaz situation where the records won’t ultimately matter. If either man loses, this fight is probably

Hot Tweets: Diving into the ongoing feud between Jon Jones and Israel Adesanya
Jon Jones cups his hand to his ear | Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

This week, the MMA world has been dominated by the ongoing beef between UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. At this point, the two are chirping at each other basically every day. So let’s talk about this quarrel and a smattering of other things.


Who is winning so far?

Might as well start here since these two aren’t actually set to fight so for now, the war of words is all we have.

At the most basic level, neither man is winning because no one ever wins internet fights. Both sides just end up looking childish, dumb, or both. The only way to ever “win” one of these is to ether your opponent with the first response and then leave it be. Week long Twitter back-and-forths just make it appear that you are both Big Mad about it. All that being said, insofar as there is a winner here, it’s Adesanya by a mile.

Why Jones would ever Twitter beef with someone is beyond me. There is more ammunition on Jones than any other MMA fighter in history and he’s not especially good at Twitter beefing anyway. Add in the fact that at the core of it, Jones has been aggressively pursuing a fight with a small middleweight while having a stigma of having fought A LOT of middleweights already is just atrocious optics. Remember that scene in The Social Network where Armie Hammer as one of the Winkelvoss Twins is talking about why they aren’t attacking Mark Zuckerberg and he says, “It’s going to look my brother and I are in skeleton costumes chasing the Karate Kid around the gym!” That’s what this is for Jon Jones.

The problem for Jones is that he’s not cool and he never has been. Jon Jones is athletic, and talented, and many things, but he’s never been cool because being cool requires a level of comfort in himself that Jones has never had. Think about Jon’s beef with Daniel Cormier. Prior to that, he had always tried to portray himself as the good guy but his vitriol for Cormier peeled back the veneer for all to see. Since then, Jones has fluctuated between those two aspects of his public persona, and a man at war with himself is going to be hard-pressed to win a game of The Dozens.

Conversely, even the most ardent Adesanya hater must admit that comfort with himself is not something Adesanya struggles with. The man very clearly does not care what anyone thinks of him and he is certainly not the one stirring things up every time he fights. Hell, this entire beef started because Jon Jones said one day he’d like to fight Adesanya, Adesanya said that sounded good to him, and then “Bones” got all up in his feelings about someone even suggesting they could beat him. Unless of course that person is a heavyweight or a guy who arguably did beat him already (*cough* Dominick Reyes *cough*). Then you don’t see Jon getting all extra about demanding a fight right now. Funny how that works . . .


Brass tacks: should the UFC book this fight?

Ordinarily, I’d say yes but there’s one small problem here: Jon Jones is no longer the UFC light heavyweight champion. If JBJ was still the champ, I’d say absolutely book this fight. Jones would have more than earned that leeway given his reign and Adesanya hasn’t quite cleaned out the division but following the win over Paulo Costa, he will now be a prohibitive favorite over anyone he fights moving forward, other than at 205. It would make all the sense in the world. Except it making it right now would feel just a little less spectacular without the light heavyweight belt on the line.

Look, I’m very much on the record as thinking that titles are largely useless but in this specific instance, not having one cheapens it. If Adesanya wins, then even though he’s the true best light heavyweight in the world, he doesn’t actually own the title. Is he going to go fight Jan then? How would that not be a huge letdown for fans? And if he wins, Jones/haters can and will say that Jones was less motivated since nothing was on the line. And if Jones wins, well, then he beat the middleweight champion in a non-title fight. Congratulations? I mean, honestly, this bout needs a belt on the line.

But even considering that, it still might be the right fight to make anyway. This is among the most exciting possible matchups the UFC can put together right now and it’s a legitimate bad-blood bout between two of the best fighters in the world. That’s like catnip for Dana White. And if we should know anything by now, it’s that waiting for superfights is a dangerous, dangerous game. This isn’t a Conor McGregor - Nate Diaz situation where the records won’t ultimately matter. If either man loses, this fight is probably no longer a big deal. The UFC should strike while the iron is hot.


But what about Jones-Ngannou

In a practical sense, Jones vs. Francis Ngannou isn’t happening anytime soon. Ngannou is going to fight Stipe Miocic sometime in the nearish future and, if he beats Miocic, then he may fight Jones. However, that’s some pretty big ifs, so I’ll take the bird in the hand instead of the two in the bush. But, if we’re only talking about which one of these fights I’d rather see, it’s Jones-Ngannou, hands down.

I actually think Adesanya has a fair chance at beating Jones if the two ever do fight because he’s a pretty rough style matchup for “Bones”. Jon is now almost exclusively a range kickboxer and in that area, Izzy would chew him up. Izzy is a faster, cleaner, and vastly more technical than Jon on the feet. Jon has never been a great takedown artist in space so he would need to force clinches and Adesanya’s footwork would make that hard for him. Not saying it can’t be done, but it would take a lot of work and he’d have to eat shots while doing it. The one saving grace for Jon is that if he can force clinches/get takedowns, he’s one of the most predatory top-position players in history and with his size advantage, may well just end Adesanya immediately once there.

My issue with that fight though is that it probably won’t be super fun. Jones has decent defense and an excellent chin so this fight could well turn into something akin to Adesanya-Yoel Romero, just with more oblique kicks. That’s not really what anyone wants to see again, is it?

On the other hand, Jones-Ngannou is certain to be awesome, for however long it lasts. Ngannou will do his Destroyer-of-Worlds things and if he succeeds, well, that’s always a good time. Conversely, Jones will try to not let Ngannou do his thing and if he succeeds, it will likely be by way of him scoring takedowns where, again, he’s one predatory motherf*cker. Either way, you’re talking about a violent ending with the entire preceding stretch filled with the palpable tension of maybe seeing Francis Ngannou bazooka someone’s head clean off their shoulders.

Plus, with Jones-Ngannou we don’t have to sit through months of sophomoric Twitter feuds. That should be reason enough.


You know, perception is a hell of a thing, and when you put it like that, it certainly presents a more flattering picture of Rockhold. But ultimately, that picture is a fantasy. Luke Rockhold isn’t “washed” per se, but he does have a VERY exploitable weakness that everyone has now picked up on, making him doomed nonetheless.

Just look at his last three losses - they all came the same way. Hell, they look nearly identical in form and there’s a reason. Like Keith Jardine before him, Rockhold’s weakness is anyone capable of throwing a strong left hook. That’s a pretty glaring problem unless Rockhold is only going to fight Nick Newell from now on. I’m not willing to say Rockhold’s chin is “bad” but it’s certainly not something to write home about and the way he leaves his head way up in the air makes him especially vulnerable. I mean, Bisping couldn’t even KO Hendo when Dan was 107 years old, but he one-punches Rockhold? That’s bad.

(Sidebar: the most frustrating part about Rockhold is that he is the best top-position grappler in MMA. That’s not hyperbole, watch his fights. Every second he is on top of someone on the ground, it’s a slaughter. His top game is better than even Khabib and Jon Jones, he just rarely uses it because he’s a counter-grappler. The man really could’ve been an all-timer.)

As for facing Anderson, I mean, he probably can win that fight because Andy Silver is nearing 50 but, sadly, it’s by no means a certainty. Again, The Spider knows how to throw a left hook meaning he’s got a shot at beating Rockhold. That’s honestly a good fight for both guys though so I hope it happens next. You know, if the UFC continues to insist on not booking Anderson Silva vs. Robbie Lawler.


Yoel Romero

Yes. At 42 years old, Yoel Romero turned Israel Adesanya into a shitty point fighter. It’s legitimately the most impressive MMA performance of the year. Go look at Adesanya’s stats for all of his fights and compare them to his bout with Romero - they drop off a cliff. And that’s not because “Romero didn’t do anything so Izzy couldn’t fight”. Costa didn’t do anything and we saw how that worked out. Romero presented genuine threats that Adesanya didn’t want to open up against and so had to eke out a win in the worst possible fashion.

Also, Romero absolutely beat both Whittaker and Costa so he’s only a one-fight losing streak.


Dark horse fighters

Who is Santiago Ponzinibbio? That name sounds familiar but I can’t put my finger on it. Hmmmm. Oh, is that the dude who hasn’t fought in two years? Why are we talking about him? Are we also going to talk about T.J. Grant coming back to win the lightweight belt Seriously, if you don’t fight for two years, you don’t get to be considered a top guy. That’s a lifetime in this sport and the division could easily have passed him by, we just don’t know yet.

As for actual sleepers in divisions, there aren’t many that come to mind. Most of the “possible future champions” are either well-established upper echelon guys or young guys who are still a ways off. If I had to pick though, I’d probably go with Glover Teixeira. Now, I know Glover has been a top-flight 205er for years, but at his advanced age, it seems like everyone is counting him out. But with Jones now gone from the division, light heavyweight is wide open and Glover the kind of crafty veteran who could potentially sneak in a late-career title win, a la Michael Bisping or Miesha Tate.

Along those lines, I would also says Alistair Overeem. Perhaps it’s just the “one final run” branding he’s putting out there but Overeem is still a big name and isn’t far off from a title shot. Any title shot he got he would, of course, be a big underdog but at heavyweight, crazier things have happened and the man still has more skill and athleticism than most anyone in the division. Championships are built from talent and opportunity and Overeem has a more of those than most.


Thanks for reading this week, and thank you for everyone who sent in Tweets! Do you have any burning questions about at least tacitly related to combat sports? Then you’re in luck because you can send your Hot Tweets to me, @JedKMeshew and I will answer them! Doesn’t matter if they’re topical or insane. Get weird with it. Let’s have fun.

Source : MMA Fighting More   

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Edson Barboza sick of ‘doing just enough’ in split losses, out to stop Makwan Amirkhani on Fight Island

Edson Barboza looks for his first win as a featherweight against Makwan Amirkhani in Abu Dhabi. | Zuffa LLC Edson Barboza doesn’t think it’s fair that he’s on a losing skid ahead of UFC Fight Island 5, but that won’t change the fact he in desperate need of a victory on Saturday. The Brazilian striker has gone winless in the octagon since a third-round finish over Dan Hooker in Dec. 2018, a stretch that includes a quick defeat to Justin Gaethje and controversial split decisions in bouts against Paul Felder and Dan Ige. As he makes his return to the UFC against Makwan Amirkhani, co-headlining Saturday’s event in Abu Dhabi, Barboza promises a vintage performance. “Knowing that you won but your record showing a loss, that honestly doesn’t feel good,” Barboza said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “But, at the same time, I understand that it’s in the past. It’s in the past, and it has made me more motivated not to go the distance again because (judges) can make mistakes again. That has motivated me. God willing, I won’t let it go to the judges’ hands this time because I don’t want to go through this again. It sucks, man.” Barboza has changed a few things in his training ahead of his return to competition to avoid close calls, and the main switch was in his mindset. In hindsight, the American Top Team featherweight believes he lacked a killer instinct in some moments, especially against Felder and Ige. “I’ve never been so motivated like I am for this fight,” Barboza said. “I was only doing the necessary in these past few years in my career. I’ve re-watched my last fights, playing close attention to it, and I was like, ‘Damn, I’m doing just enough, I could have fought a lot better.’ I look back and wonder why am I doing this, why am I not fighting my best. I understood that and put it in practice in training, and I’m sure I will put it in practice in the fight as well. You’ll see the best Edson Barboza you’ve ever seen, no doubt. “The result was a bit strange in my past two fights, I could have fought a lot better. I was doing just the necessary to win. If the guy gave me 10, I would do 11 while knowing I could have done 20, you know? Especially these past two (fights). I could have fought 1,000 times better but I didn’t try. I was trying to stay in control and whatnot, just do the necessary to win. That’s over.” A win in Abu Dhabi is much-needed, and Barboza knows that, but he won’t let outside factors add extra weight on his shoulders. The experienced Brazilian, who has gotten to a point of requesting his release from the UFC earlier this year, is aware that his job could be on the line depending on what happens Saturday. “I think everyone that has a job has the job on the line,” Barboza said. “You could be fired at any moment, and I’m no different, but I know I’m a great employee and I know my value. It won’t a problem if I get cut one day. If the UFC cuts me, I’m sure I’ll have a job in other company. “Honestly, I don’t care about this. If the result is the opposite (of what I want), which I’m sure it won’t be, if I get cut, I know my value, I know my will and where I can get. if I leave the UFC, I’ll have a job in other promotion, no problem at all.” To make things a bit trickier, Barboza had a short-notice opponent switch before flying to Abu Dhabi, with Amirkhani stepping in to replace Sodiq Yusuff. Barboza had to make some changes now that he’s fighting southpaw grappler, but he “I’ve never felt so good in my entire MMA career, so you can put anyone in there and I’ll go a good job.” “He will definitely try to take me down, but this is a MMA fight,” Barboza said of Amirkhani, who tapped Danny Henry with an anaconda choke in July. “I’m well-prepared, and I’m sure he will rush to my legs for a takedown and try to grapple with me, but it won’t end well for him. … Kicks are my specialty, but I’ll unleash my game there. If I do what I’ve been doing in the gym, this fight won’t get out of my hands.”

Edson Barboza sick of ‘doing just enough’ in split losses, out to stop Makwan Amirkhani on Fight Island
Edson Barboza looks for his first win as a featherweight against Makwan Amirkhani in Abu Dhabi. | Zuffa LLC

Edson Barboza doesn’t think it’s fair that he’s on a losing skid ahead of UFC Fight Island 5, but that won’t change the fact he in desperate need of a victory on Saturday.

The Brazilian striker has gone winless in the octagon since a third-round finish over Dan Hooker in Dec. 2018, a stretch that includes a quick defeat to Justin Gaethje and controversial split decisions in bouts against Paul Felder and Dan Ige. As he makes his return to the UFC against Makwan Amirkhani, co-headlining Saturday’s event in Abu Dhabi, Barboza promises a vintage performance.

“Knowing that you won but your record showing a loss, that honestly doesn’t feel good,” Barboza said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “But, at the same time, I understand that it’s in the past. It’s in the past, and it has made me more motivated not to go the distance again because (judges) can make mistakes again. That has motivated me. God willing, I won’t let it go to the judges’ hands this time because I don’t want to go through this again. It sucks, man.”

Barboza has changed a few things in his training ahead of his return to competition to avoid close calls, and the main switch was in his mindset. In hindsight, the American Top Team featherweight believes he lacked a killer instinct in some moments, especially against Felder and Ige.

“I’ve never been so motivated like I am for this fight,” Barboza said. “I was only doing the necessary in these past few years in my career. I’ve re-watched my last fights, playing close attention to it, and I was like, ‘Damn, I’m doing just enough, I could have fought a lot better.’ I look back and wonder why am I doing this, why am I not fighting my best. I understood that and put it in practice in training, and I’m sure I will put it in practice in the fight as well. You’ll see the best Edson Barboza you’ve ever seen, no doubt.

“The result was a bit strange in my past two fights, I could have fought a lot better. I was doing just the necessary to win. If the guy gave me 10, I would do 11 while knowing I could have done 20, you know? Especially these past two (fights). I could have fought 1,000 times better but I didn’t try. I was trying to stay in control and whatnot, just do the necessary to win. That’s over.”

A win in Abu Dhabi is much-needed, and Barboza knows that, but he won’t let outside factors add extra weight on his shoulders. The experienced Brazilian, who has gotten to a point of requesting his release from the UFC earlier this year, is aware that his job could be on the line depending on what happens Saturday.

“I think everyone that has a job has the job on the line,” Barboza said. “You could be fired at any moment, and I’m no different, but I know I’m a great employee and I know my value. It won’t a problem if I get cut one day. If the UFC cuts me, I’m sure I’ll have a job in other company.

“Honestly, I don’t care about this. If the result is the opposite (of what I want), which I’m sure it won’t be, if I get cut, I know my value, I know my will and where I can get. if I leave the UFC, I’ll have a job in other promotion, no problem at all.”

To make things a bit trickier, Barboza had a short-notice opponent switch before flying to Abu Dhabi, with Amirkhani stepping in to replace Sodiq Yusuff. Barboza had to make some changes now that he’s fighting southpaw grappler, but he “I’ve never felt so good in my entire MMA career, so you can put anyone in there and I’ll go a good job.”

“He will definitely try to take me down, but this is a MMA fight,” Barboza said of Amirkhani, who tapped Danny Henry with an anaconda choke in July. “I’m well-prepared, and I’m sure he will rush to my legs for a takedown and try to grapple with me, but it won’t end well for him. … Kicks are my specialty, but I’ll unleash my game there. If I do what I’ve been doing in the gym, this fight won’t get out of my hands.”

Source : MMA Fighting More   

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