AFTER a stretch in his mixed martial arts career that had him fighting a few times and far in between, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) champion Jon “Bones” Jones said it feels great to have some “consistency” now and looking forward to such a setup moving forward.
No thanks to injuries and on and off-Octagon issues that hindered his career in the recent past, Mr. Jones, 31, the reigning UFC light heavyweight champion, saw himself fighting once a year since 2014.
It was a situation that was hard for Mr. Jones, especially as a go-getting combatant he always wants to test himself as a fighter.
Yesterday though, the American champion fought for the second time in just three months, taking on compatriot Anthony “Lionheart” Smith in a title fight at “UFC 235” at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“It feels great. It feels great to get some fights back to back and I am only just getting started, it is going to be a busy 2019,” said Mr. Jones in an e-mail interview with global media for UFC 235, the transcript of which was shared to BusinessWorld.
It was a successful title defense against Mr. Smith, whom he dominated right from the start that even two points deducted from him for an illegal knee to the head in the fourth round could not prevent him from running away with a unanimous decision win, 48-44, 48-44 and 48-44.
Now back in the groove of things, Mr. Jones said he is bent on taking his career to full throttle anew, something he was not able to do in previous years.
“My goal is just to keep dominating and keep doing the best I can and have as many world titles as I can,” said Mr. Jones, whose victory over Mr. Smith improved his record to 24 victories and one loss.
Meanwhile, Ben “Funky” Askren finally made his UFC debut earlier in the day and it was a successful one, winning over “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler by way of technical submission (bulldog choke) in the opening round.
Mr. Askren, 34, who had expressed his desire to parlay his wares in the UFC for a long time, finally got his wish after spending most of his career at Bellator and, most recently, at ONE Championship.
The American fighter was “traded” for erstwhile UFC flyweight champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson last year. Mr. Johnson is now set to see action in ONE in Japan later this month.
Mr. Askren overcame an onslaught by Mr. Lawler early, busting him open with a barrage of punches and knees.
But Mr. Askren was resilient in surviving until he got hold of his opponent from the back and never released after that before referee Herb Dean stopped the fight at the 3:20 mark thinking Mr. Lawler was already out.
Mr. Lawler though protested immediately, saying he was not out and still could fight.
Also victorious yesterday was Kamaru Usman of Nigeria, who dominated and dethroned American Tyron Woodley for the UFC welterweight title by way of unanimous decision, 50-44, 50-44 and 50-45.
In the Philippines, the UFC can be seen on video-streaming service FOX+. FOX+ is FOX Networks Group Asia’s video-streaming service available on Android and iOS devices as well as on Apple TV and select Android TVs. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo