Coach: Jones suffered debilitating shoulder injury two days before fight
Coach Mike Winklejohn appeared recently on Submission Radio, and revealed the Jon Jones suffered an arm injury just two days before the fight with Daniel Cormier at UFC 214.
“A couple of nights before the fight, he couldn’t lift his arm,” said coach Wink. “He had hurt it wrestling. He wrestled a little too hard with his partner and maybe from a lack of warm up, I’m not sure, but it was kind scary. It was one of those situations where when I was warming him up I’d ask the coaches and they had agreed, they were ahead of me on this, that we shouldn’t be doing a lot wrestling because I didn’t want Jon to try and have to underhook and lift with his one arm because it could potentially cause it to be hurt again and mess with his mindset. I wanted to keep that out of it and hopefully so that way if it got reinjured in the fight, the adrenaline would take over. So it was kind of scary that nobody knew about it. There was an injury behind the scenes, but Jon is who he is, he’s as tough as they come and like I said, nobody beats Jon Jones but himself. Once he decides he wants to win a fight, he’s going to win.”
“You know, in my mind, I’m thinking, ‘Are you going to be able to underhook with that arm? Or if not, you have to use a lot more frames and more downward pressure and circle the opposite direction, so game plan might have to be changed a little bit if it doesn’t get healed.’ So there’s a lot of things that are going through the coaches’ minds. Who knows what was going through Jon’s mind. He basically didn’t say anything other than he’s fighting.”
And on fight night, Jones soldiered through.
“Oh he didn’t say anything about it,” said Winklejohn. “Let me put it that way, no matter what, how much it hurt, whether it was tingling or felt weak, Jon didn’t say anything, he just went and fought. And that’s why Jon Jones is a champion, he has that mindset.”
“I was excited for Jon Jones to redeem himself and get back to where he was before,” said the coach. “And like I said, no one beats Jon Jones but himself. So now it’s all back in Jon’s corner again. He is the guy, he is considered the best, and so now he just has to do the right things and train hard and I think you haven’t seen a lot of what Jon Jones can do. He’s capable of so much. I knew he was capable of one-punch knockouts all day long, but what Jon can do is, he can do it all. His submissions are at a whole different level, you know, his wrestling, as you know, it’s what he started with. He’s great at what he does and so he’s just really hard to fight because he’s so good everywhere.”
Jones is not the only great fighter Winklejohn works with. Holly Holm is believed to be next to challenge Cris Cyborg for the new UFC women’s featherweight belt that she won in defeating Tonya Evinger at UFC 214.
“Cris, she showed that she could do some more rounds – I wasn’t sure about her conditioning after her weight cut,” he said. But there’s some holes in her game, there’s no doubt. I think Evinger showed a lot of that and she exposed her in many ways. Now, Tonya’s kind of unorthodox with her striking, so that could make anybody look kind of weird sometimes, but with that being said, I think we definitely see a lot of weaknesses in Cris Cyborg. I like Cris as a person and stuff, but there’s no doubt there’s some holes in there and she’s definitely beatable.”
Winklejohn was asked if he had talked about Holm vs. Cyborg with the UFC.
“Yeah, there’s talks back and forth,” he saud. “Right now it’s at the point where it’s, you know, Holly fought her last fight at 135, jumping up in weight when Cyborg’s cutting, those were the issues that we have to think about and decide time-wise what’s best. Holly, on a side note, will never turn down a fight. She’s like, ‘Yeah whatever you want.’ And she basically leaves that up to myself and her manager Lenny Fresquez and she’ll just go out and fight. So she’s okay with fighting Cyborg, there is no doubt about it and she’s okay with, she really wants to get a shot at Shevchenko again and or Nunes if Nunes wins that fight, but that’s where Holly’s mind right now. She just wants the big fight and she’s very capable of it.”
“It’s just what’s right for Holly right now at this time in her career and the Cris Cyborg fight may or may not be the right fight. So it depends on money, where it’s at and if we have enough time to put on a little bit of weight to fight Cris Cyborg.”
“I think Holly can pick her apart. There’s no doubt about that. What people don’t understand is how strong Holly is too in the clinch, on her feet and moving and stuff. Cris is definitely going to try to do most of her damage by pushing her back against the cage. You know, good luck keeping Holly there and backing her up, coming in that hard. But yeah, Cris is really strong, but I think Holly wears her down and is able to stop her. You look at Holly’s knockout percentage, I think her and Amanda Nunes are the biggest out there. She stops all of her fights, everybody else other than Cyborg. So Holly has the power to stop Cyborg just like Cyborg has the power, the difference is Holly’s got speed and her footwork.”