Jackson: Out wrestling Sonnen key to strategy

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Jon Jones successfully defended his lightheavyweight title against Chael Sonnen at UFC 159 and did it by using Sonnen’s own strategy against him: take the guy down and beat him up. Jones who was the rangier fighter and a much better striker, could have likely kept Sonnen at distance and inflicted damage on the feet, but out wrestling Sonnen was a key part of the strategy head coach Greg Jackson revealed to Sherdog Radio yesterday:

On why Jones wanted to take Sonnen down: “You always have to remember one of the dictums of our strategy is you don’t necessarily stay away from a guy’s strength. If you feel you can do better at it, you can head on attack it. If you take away what your opponent is good at, if that is no longer an option and your opponent hasn’t layered their game plan so there’s no real plan B, where do you go psychologically?

It’s always a good idea if you know your guy can outdo the other guy at their strength to charge right at that strength and basically just break them mentally. You want to make sure you’ve taken away their safety zone [and] you’ve taken away what they’re supposed to do. That can have a very, very powerful psychological effect on people.”

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Sonnen himself was suprised that Jones was able to take him down, not just once, but three times in the first round on his way to a TKO stoppage. Sonnen admitted on last night’s episode of UFC Tonight on Fuel TV that being taken down did effect him, so kudos to Jackson for the strategy:

He’s big, he’s strong and he’s got the wing span of a radioactive condor. I knew he’d take me down, but I never thought that he could take me down repeatedly. That was a surprise. And the fact that he tried so quickly, I was thrown off a little.”