UFC 135: Will Rampage Jackson Be Able to Deal with Jon Jones' Athleticism?"
Athleticism is the ability to use a variety of motor skills: strength, balance, speed, agility, endurance, coordination and leverage, to effectively perform a broad variety of sporting actions.
In other words, a superior athlete requires a variety of physical motor skills and the ability to use them effectively.
Using those criteria, let’s compare the two fighters and rate them on a scale of 1 to 10 to determine an overall AQ (athleticism quotient) for each fighter.
Strength – a Measure of Pure Power (which Usually Does Not Diminish with Age).
Rampage is a powerful athlete. In his Pride days he picked up Ricardo Arona and slammed him to the mat, knocking him unconscious. This was a prodigious strength move, but that was seven years ago.
We haven't seen any feats of strength that come close to that in Jackson's performances as of late. If we take into account that he has been in camp for 13 weeks and is in terrific shape for this fight, we must assume that his strength is near its maximum level.
Jackson's strength rating - 9
Jones also possesses great power. He tossed Matt Hamill, who is himself an incredibly strong Olympic class wrestler, to the mat. Jones threw Vladimir Matyushenko down in their fight and handled him with apparent ease. He also over-powered Ryan Bader, another strong fighter.
Jones' strength rating - 9
Balance – Maintaining Equilibrium.
Rampage stands solidly and maintains his balance well in his fights. With his wrestling background he shows great body awareness on the ground as well as on his feet as a striker. He can also take a punch well.
Jackson's balance rating – 8
Jones shows freakish body awareness in the octagon. He never seems to be off balance, even when throwing dynamic spinning back fists and elbows. His ability to absorb punches is unknown.
Jones' balance rating – 9
Speed – Velocity or How Fast Something Moves.
Rampage does not look like a fast fighter. He’s somewhat plodding, walking down his opponents and looking for openings.
His hands however, are fast.
14 knockouts attest to the speed in his fists. Unfortunately, speed is something that diminishes with age and although Rampage is only 33 years of age, his 40 bouts make him older in fight years.
Jackson's speed rating – 7
Jones moves like a cat in the cage. His lightening-quick take downs and strikes are a large part of his success and fan appeal. Too bad the scale only goes to 10.
Jones' speed rating – 10
Agility: The Ability to Change the Body's Position Efficiently.
Rampage is slightly awkward. His movement seems to have lessened a bit since his Pride days. In his loss to Rashad Evans at UFC 114, he looked somewhat dull in comparison to the crisper Evans.
Jackson's agility rating – 4
Jones’ agility is at an elite level. His movement could make Baryshnikov blush.
Jones' agility rating – 10
Endurance – a Measure of Cardiovascular Capacity.
Rampage has a good gas tank, but he sometimes fades in the later rounds. in the past he has shown a tendency to not train hard, particularly when he had Hollywood stardust in his eyes while filming “The A-Team” for 20th Century Fox.
Training is the key to endurance.
As MMA trainer/guru Greg Jackson has shown, cardio-fitness may be one of the most important physical factors in a fight, especially a championship five round contest. Let’s hope Quinton has had the intense training camp he claims.
Jackson's endurance rating – 7
Jones has yet to be taken into deep water in a fight and has only been to the three round limit twice with two unanimous decisions in his favor. His ability to endure for five rounds is unproven. Being a superbly conditioned 24 year old trained by aforementioned Greg Jackson, Jones should have no trouble negotiating 25 minutes of fighting.
Jones' endurance rating – 9
Coordination: Making Different Movements Work Together to Affect Athletic Goals
Rampage is not thought of as a graceful fighter. Coordination is essential when dodging punches (and spinning back elbows), while at the same time throwing counter kicks and strikes.
After Rampage absorbs a few leg kicks, his ability to coordinate foot movement and punching power goes out the window. If Jones decides to exploit this, Rampage will be in a lot of trouble.
Jackson's coordination rating – 6
Jones has to be one of the most well-coordinated UFC fighters we have ever seen grace the octagon. His dynamic coordination is on a par with the lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar, who weighs 50 pounds less.
Jones' coordination rating - 10
Leverage: Mechanical Advantage or Power Gained by Using a Lever.
Rampage possesses a 74 inch reach and is six feet and one inch tall.
Given those measurements he has a large leverage potential while fighting. He has shown the ability to use his leverage in securing submissions with seven to his credit.
However, his last submission win other than a tap out to knees or punches was ten years ago when he subbed Kenneth Williams with a rear naked choke. Rampage’s leverage is not a great factor in his skill set.
Jackson's leverage rating - 5
Jones has the largest wingspan in UFC history at 84.5 inches. He stands at six foot and four inches. He uses his physical leverage to great advantage in his fights to strike, take down and submit opponents.
Jones' leverage rating – 10
Rampage’s AQ (athleticism quotient) - 46
Jones’ AQ (athleticism quotient) - 67
Based on this assessment, Jones looks like the superior athlete and it appears Rampage is going to get snowballed unless he gets lucky or has the performance of his career.
Of course the fighters’ performances will be influenced by intangible factors like motivation, experience and health on the night of the fight.