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ESPN Analyst and Elite Coach Din Thomas Still Has Doubts About Jon Jones at Heavyweight

As the heavyweight title fight between Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic approaches, oddsmakers are favoring Jones by a wide margin. Just don’t count coach and ESPN analyst Din Thomas among the chorus of people dismissing the chances of the former champion.

Also Read: UFC light heavyweight rankings: Alex Pereira will fight for gold at UFC 295

While appearing on Sportsnaut’s Scrap Report, Din Thomas shared his thoughts on the upcoming main event at UFC 295 and why he feels the matchup between the two long established veterans brings a decent amount of unknown factors.

“It’s such a hard match to really look at because both guys have been inactive for so long,” Thomas said. 

While Jones convincingly claimed the belt in his heavyweight debut with a first round submission, Thomas feels that the champion is still an uncertainty after moving up the scale. “When Jon came back he had that performance versus Ciryl Gane and Ciryl just totally gave it to him. We still don’t know what Jon Jones looks like at heavyweight. It’s easy to say he looked great because he beat a Ciryl Gane who just laid down for him. But the videos I’ve seen of Jon working out, he didn’t look all that fast. He didn’t look all that great. So we don’t know what he looks like at heavyweight.”

The former lightweight contender gave the second perspective of a fellow ESPN analyst Anthony “Lionheart” Smith who once challenged Jones for the light heavyweight crown. “He said if you spend five minutes with Stipe you’re going to think he’s going to win this fight.”

From the technical side, Thomas feels there is a path to victory for the Miocic. While both Jones and Miocic share collegiate wrestling credentials, the full time firefighter was also a Golden Gloves boxing champ. It’s his abilities in the sweet science that could give him an edge over his underdog status.  

“If I’m Stipe, I’m going out there and using movement and speed and trying to turn this into boxing match with Jon because Jon doesn’t box that great…Jon’s got great defense, an underrated chin, and he’s dangerous…but we don’t know how much speed he has at heavyweight… We know Stipe is a natural speedy heavyweight.”

Also Read: Bellator 299: Johnny Eblen On Middleweight Rankings

Even with that strong endorsement of Miocic and a gameplan to maximize his attributes, Thomas doubts that “at 41 years old he could keep that up for 25 minutes.” However, if he does it as long as he can, perhaps he “can hurt Jon and slow him down.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Thomas weighed in the recent upsets over dominant belt holders, where Bellator 299 main eventer and defending champion Johnny Eblen stacks up against his counterparts in the Octagon and whether or not the outspoken Sean Strickland is public relations nightmare for the UFC.

Stipe Miocic will attempt to reclaim heavyweight supremacy against Jon Jones in the main event at UFC 295. The event will take place on November 11th from Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Ant Walker is a native of the Washington DC area that now lives in Los Angeles. He has been... More about Anthony Walker

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