The Blueprint: Jones vs Bader

By Michael DiSanto

On Saturday night, Jon Jones and Ryan Bader will take their careers to the next level by facing each other. The winner will take another giant step toward title contention.

Managing the career of a burgeoning mixed martial artist is tough. Molding a future champion is even tougher.

It is imperative to bring the athlete along at the proper pace. Matchmaking is critically important. Young fighters must be continually challenged without getting them in over their head, so they can learn the necessary lessons and continue up the developmental curve.

He must learn the fundamentals of the sport, and how to seamlessly transition among the various disciplines during the ever-changing circumstances of an actual MMA contest. He must learn how to keep his emotions under control to avoid unnecessary adrenaline dumps, which crush even the best-conditioned athlete’s cardio. He must learn how to deal with adversity—what happens if he gets cut; what if he is behind on the cards with a round to go; etc. And, most importantly, he must develop unshakable belief (not merely outward hubris) in himself, believing to the depths of his soul that he is the best fighter in the world.

 

QUICK FACTS

Jon Jones
• 23 years old
• 6’4, 205 lbs
• 84.5-inch reach
• 11-1 overall (5-1 UFC)
• Lone UFC loss was a DQ for illegal elbow strikes to Matt Hamill in a fight Jones was dominating
• 3 of last 4 fights have ended inside the distance
• Last 3 ended inside the first round
• Current layoff of 188 days is the longest of his UFC career (UD3 over Vladimir Matyushenko on August 1, 2010)
Knockout of the Night (TKO1 over Brandon Vera on March 21, 2010)

Ryan Bader
• 27 years old
• 6’2, 205 lbs
• 74-inch reach
• 13-0 overall (5-0 UFC)
• 3 of last 4 fights went the distance; all 4 went to the final round
• Current layoff is 133 days (UD3 over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira on September 25, 2010)
• Longest layoff of UFC career is 216 days (KO3 over Keith Jardine on February 21, 2010, to UD3 over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira on September 25, 2010)

 

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