Jon “Bones” Jones will defend his UFC light-heavyweight title against Anthony Smith on Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena. This will be Jones first title defense since winning the belt two months ago. The fight against Smith will also be Jones 12th world title fight.
Back in 2017, Jon Jones beat Daniel Cormier for the title. However, officials later overturned the result to a no-contest, once Jones tested positive for banned substances.
Since then, Jones has been on a winning spree that saw him recapture the UFC light-heavyweight belt at UFC 232.
Smith, too, comes off an impressive run of results. Smith has only lost two of his last nine fights.
Jones and Smith met at a pre-fight promotion on Wednesday. In usual UFC fashion, the two fighters engaged in a routine staredown. Later, Jones spoke to MMAfighting.com and said that Smith may be too emotionally invested in the match.
“I saw his lips trembling a little bit. Maybe he’s nervous. He actually talks a really good game, but his lip was quivering. I’m not saying he’s scared, it just shows me that emotionally he’s a guy where this fight means everything to him.”
“That’s a dangerous place to be in. When a fight means too much to you, it’s a dangerous place to be in, man.”
With the exception of Matt Hammil, Jones has so far beaten every fighter he has come across in the ring. Jones “lost” to Hammil via disqualification for illegal elbows.
Despite being a formidable fighter, Jones might have his work cut out for him on Saturday. Known for being a heavy hitter, Smith might prove to be a worthy contender. After all, it takes just one punch to knock someone out. In fact, Smith has 18 wins by knockout compared to Jones’ 10.
Jones, however, remains confident,
“No, he’s not [anything different]. He’s not. I’ve fought heavy-hitters before, wild brawlers, i’ve fought many black belts on the ground, there’s nothing he’s done that I haven’t seen.”
“I’m not trying to downplay him by any means, but when you learn how to become a 23-year-old world champion and stay unbeaten for ten years, your mental space – I don’t think it’s like most.”