(Photo by Paul Abell-US PRESSWIRE)
Chances are when Jones and Henderson meet, the fight will be decided on the feet, but that doesn't mean grappling can be ignored.
On paper, Dan Henderson is the superior wrestler. He's a two time Greco-Roman Olympian. "World class" is a term that gets thrown around too easily in MMA, but Dan Henderson has truly earned the distinction.
By comparison, Jones is only a junior college national wrestling champion.
But it would be a huge mistake for Dan Henderson to underestimate this aspect of Jones' game.
Jones has tossed around some great grapplers—guys who other great grapplers have struggled with: Matt Hamill, Vladimir Matyushenko, Brandon Vera, Ryan Bader and Shogun Rua. And much like his striking, his takedowns are varied and unorthodox. He can drop for single- and double-legs, and he uses trips, throws and suplexes.
Henderson, being a Greco-Roman guy, thrives in the clinch. His hips are as good as they get, and he likes to grind larger fighters down from that position.
As far as jiu jitsu goes, neither fighter likes to play from the guard, so if this does become a grappling contest, the battle will be for top control. Dan does have a guillotine victory on his record, but don't expect him to pull guard anytime soon.
Jones is much more adept at using chokes to finish fights. After he wears opponents out with his striking, he likes to take them down and use his long, lean arms to secure chokes. He's done this to Ryan Bader, Shogun Rua and Lyoto Machida.
ADVANTAGE: Jon Jones. He may lack the elite pedigree of Henderson, but he's been so effective at adapting his grappling style to MMA, and his size advantage will make it very difficult for Henderson to bully him around. Add that to his submission advantage, and Jones should have the edge in this department.