“I need a year of training.” The seven-foot basketball player vows to defeat Jon Jones!
September 19, 2023, 10:30 Moscow time Audio version: Your browser does not support the audio element.
An unusual new challenge for the UFC champion.
We have already seen a wide variety of fights in the pop MMA genre. Bloggers, actors and figures from the entertainment world are invited there and fights are organized for the entertainment of the public. Well, intersections between MMA fighters and boxers have generally become commonplace.
However, Indiana Pacers National Basketball Association (NBA) forward James Johnson decided to go even further and took aim at current UFC champion Jon Jones: “I need a year to compete against Jones. I can handle it on my feet, but we all know Jones is amazing at wrestling. He is very good on the ground, which is not my strong suit. However, I believe I can defeat him. Oh really. I only need one year of defense training; I need to learn to fight on the ground. I have been hitting with my hands and feet since he was five or six years old.”
By the way, about punching and kicking, this is the honest truth. Before becoming a professional basketball player, Johnson played other sports. Notably, he has a black belt in karate and a 20-0 record in kickboxing. James has not yet competed in MMA, but he apparently likes this prospect.
Johnson is just over seven feet tall, so it’s unlikely he’ll miss out on the heavyweight class. I would like to hear Jon Jones’ opinion on this matter. The champion has already had many fights with high-level strikers, there is no need to look far for examples: let’s remember the fight with Cyril Gan. But he barely knew any basketball forwards.
It is interesting that in recent weeks it is not Sergei Pavlovich and Tom Aspinall who have shown the most interest in Jones, but representatives from other sports. A little earlier, Tyson Fury said that after Francis Ngannou he is not going to seek the title of absolute world heavyweight boxing champion, but he likes the fight with Jones: “I am looking for the highest fee. Usik is not up to par. He is simply a foreigner who doesn’t speak English well, so he can’t sell the fight. I’m probably looking for another American. He probably wants to fight Jon Jones in a boxing match.”
It is quite possible that such interest was sparked by John’s interview, where he lightly revealed his UFC fees: “I earn eight-figure sums, they take very good care of me. I’m always happy for guys who make good money. That’s why I like Conor McGregor, he has done a lot for MMA fighters in terms of fees. I am also proud of Francis Ngannou. Thanks to MMA, I can take care of my family and retire before I’m 40.”
Or another version is that they want to get closer to Dana White and see Jones as the main obstacle. Recently, the president of the UFC said that if he had to choose a fighter who would fight for his life, it would be John.
Returning to James Johnson and his skills in mixed martial arts, it is also worth noting that he had “successes.” In 2014, he was arrested on domestic violence charges. The basketball player hit and strangled his wife. Well, now, apparently, it’s time for a new challenge.