Seasoned campaigner Dan Henderson told Sports Illustrated that Jon Jones has never fought anyone like him and thus will prove he has what it takes to derail the young phenom when the pair go head-to-head in the main event of UFC 151.
“He’s still young and unorthodox, that’s his biggest asset, [but] he’s young and sloppy a little bit. He’s done well with his style but I feel like he’s never fought anybody like me.”
“Bones” Jones came to prominence back at UFC 128 when he decimated Mauricio “Shogun” Rua to capture the 205-pound title. At 23, it also made him the youngest-ever champion in the history of the Zuffa-based promotion.
Since attaining said title, Bones has successfully and impressively defended the belt on three separate occasions against a trio of former titlists—Rashad Evans, Lyoto Machida and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
Presently, Jones holds sway over his weight class with an ironclad grip rod and no one has come close to knocking him of his perch, let alone deciphering his unorthodox style of fighting.
Another puzzle facing would-be challengers is the freakishly looking 84-inch reach Jones has at his disposal—an asset he has employed with great efficacy.
Henderson, the former Strikeforce 205-pound champion, is highly aware of Jones' advantages, but nonetheless has his own stratagem come fight night.
“I guess the difference is he’s got arms twice as long as everybody else I’ve fought,” Henderson said. “But it’s not rocket science. I’ve been doing it a while. There’s certain things I need to be careful for that he does well. I’ve just got to be aware of that, and implement what I want to do with him.”
Jones (16-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC) is the bookmakers' favorite to make it a fourth successive title defense, which leaves Henderson (29-8 MMA, 6-2 UFC) in the category of underdog, a status he more than relishes.
“For me it’s about beating the top guys out there, and everybody thinks he’s unbeatable,” Henderson said. “I love having the odds not in my favor.”
When the small matter of the 17-year age gap was mentioned, the 41-year-old Henderson said, “I guess I’ll have to show him what he can look forward to.”
Henderson is also a former PRIDE middleweight and welterweight champion.
UFC 151 is scheduled for September 1, 2012, at the Mandalay Bay Event Center MGM in Las Vegas, Nevada.