Since UFC 239, there’s been plenty of discussion about how Jon Jones performed, and whether Thiago Santos provided “Bones” his biggest challenge to date. After all, one of three judges at the event scored the fight for Santos, and the judges who scored the bout for Jones, had the challenger winning two rounds.
Well, recently Jones’ striking coach, Brandon Gibson, spoke with MMA Fighting. While discussing how the fight unfolded, and how the bout was scored, Gibson said this:
“I was surprised,” Gibson said. “It is part of our job as coaches and trainers to be aware of how a round could have gone. We knew the first round was ultra-competitive but I thought [rounds] 2 through 5 were clearly Jon and I thought we were up.
“We weren’t asking Jon to coast or fight safe or anything like that or protect the lead. We’re always hunting. I was surprised that one judge saw it that way and I was a little surprised some media members I really respect saw it in Thiago’s favor.”
“I just think I have a view as good as any judge during the fight and I thought Jon’s pressure, his feints, his volume, his defense, won us that fight,” Gibson said. “Thiago missed a lot on his counters but maybe the judges thought they were landing.
Now, Dana White also thought there was no doubt that Jones won. But, the broader conservation seems to be centered on the fact the fight was much more competitive than most folks thought it would be. Especially since Santos seriously injured his knee early on into the bout.
According to the final stats, Jones outstruck Santos by a 59 to 43 margin, which, when you consider the striking abilities of Santos is impressive. Further, Jones never went for any takedowns in the bout, which is not something most people expected would be the case heading into the fight.
It will be interesting to see whether this ongoing debate impacts Jones in his next outing. Might we see a more aggressive Jones? Or, “Bones” mixing in his wrestling and clinch game more? Possibly, depending on the opponent of course.