Take cover, Jon Jones haters, the Bones Redemption Tour now includes flying oblique kicks. NO NOT THAT! ANYTHING BUT THAT! Jones posted the video above from a recent training session with Mike Winkeljohn, and it looks like the former champ will be incorporating that vicious, sure-to-be controversial, flying knee kick to his arsenal.
Jones is undoubtedly one of the top fighters in the world, but, his style has come under fire form purists who view some of his techniques as dirty. The most common criticism of Jones is his propensity for using the controversial, albeit legal, oblique kick. The oblique kick can cause devastating damage to the knee, leading many in the fight game to call for a ban of the strike. Jones defended the move in a piece with “Fight Land” on Vice:
“It’s a very controversial move,” Jones said. “But if someone was trying to give us brain damage, we believe it’s an even trade off to give him a little limp for the rest of his life. So try it out, guys.”
Obviously the available practice footage is limited, but that flying kick looks like an even more vicious adaptation of the oblique kick. With that said, I totally side with Jones on this. If a fighter values his knee ligaments, he’ll be mindful and find a way to defend kicks to the lower half. This logic invokes an interesting dilemma across all combat sports. It’s nearly impossible for a competitor to totally protect all angles and avenues of vulnerability. Thus, fighters have to balance a defense of prioritized zones with a sound offensive strategy. The great ones can essentially expand upon their defense and eliminate further susceptibility via a killer attack. No fighter, though, can ever ensure total protection during a bout. This flying kick, while possessing career-ending potential, leaves Jones vulnerable in the air. At the very least, the move leaves him weaker – for a split second – than a typical oblique kick.
Jones begins his comeback with a title shot against current Light Heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier at UFC 197 on April 23. For the amnesic readers, Jones defeated Cormier by unanimous decision in at UFC 182. He was supposed to fight top contender Anthony Johnson, but a failed drug test for cocaine and a hit-and-run incident in New Mexico led to Jones being stripped of the title belt and suspended from the UFC. Cormier then beat Jonhson to claim the vacant belt and has held on ever since. Jones was reinstated in October 2015 and now the overdue rematch is finally game.
Considering the intensity of the first bout, Jones’ desire for redemption, and Cormier’s will to retain his title, 197 should be an all out war. I can’t wait to see the best pound-for-pounder break out the flying oblique. Either the kick lands and Cormier crumbles, or DC goes Goldberg on his ass.
One way or another, it’s gonna be electric!