Jon Jones, arguably the best mixed martial arts fighter in the world, was reinstated to the UFC in October. Jones, 28, was suspended for six months following his arrest for a hit-and-run accident in New Mexico and was stripped of the UFC light heavyweight championship.
Now he’s back. Is that good for UFC?
“It’s a good thing,” UFC fighter Anthony Johnson said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “It’s a good thing. Jon, to me, was always the champion no matter what. He didn’t lose his title during a fight, so he was still the champion in my opinion. He got caught up in some things and that’s just part of life. Everybody’s human. We make mistakes. Nobody’s perfect. But with him being reinstated, it brings more fire to the division. It makes Daniel Cormier more excited. It makes me more excited. It makes Ryan Bader just as excited. Alexander Gustafsson – everybody that’s in the top four or five, we need that. We need that fire. And Jon is definitely going to bring some fire when he comes.”
Johnson (20-5, 11-5 UFC) plans to bring the fire against Bader (20-4, 13-4 UFC) when they square off at UFC on Fox 18 on Jan. 30. Bader has won five straight matches and is coming off a victory over Rashad Evans in October.
“He’s an awesome athlete,” Johnson said of Bader. “A lot of people say he’s not that exciting or anything, that he sucks and things like that. But he doesn’t. Just because he’s not exciting doesn’t make him a crappy fighter. Bader can fight.”
It will be an interesting contrast of styles between Johnson, a strike-hard dynamo, and Bader, a grappling artist. Still, Johnson believes he’ll be able to do some damage.
“With the new coaches that I have and the new things I’ve been working on for the last couple of months, I don’t think it’s going to be to the point where I can’t do what I want to do,” Johnson said. “It’ll always be tough because when you’re at the top of the ladder, it gets tough. It’s tougher and tougher each fight. So I expect it to be a tough fight, but I still believe I can do what I need to do to win the fight.”