Jon Jones has been working towards his heavyweight debut, but it has not come without criticism.
The UFC Hall of Famer and former light heavyweight champion was last in action at UFC 247 in February 2020, where he recorded a unanimous decision title defense over Dominick Reyes. Ever since, he has been working towards a new challenge by taking on the heavyweight division.
Jones has not rushed the process, but some fans are apparently growing restless. UFC president Dana White recently stated that Jones is “ready to go” and expects him to fight current heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou or former champ Stipe Miocic. White also stated he is a “huge believer” in ring rust, and despite his issues away from the cage, the UFC boss categorized Jones as the best of all time.
In a recent video posted to Instagram, a heavyweight-bound Jones showed off some striking combinations with his long-time striking coach Brandon Gibson. However, the footage was met with mixed reaction, as some felt Jones’ speed may have taken a dip.
Check out how Jones responded to critics of his striking and the timeline of his return below:
Patience is a virtue
“The biggest complaint I hear from fight fans these days are, ‘dude is taking too long, he’s never going to fight,’” Jones wrote on Twitter. “Sounds like people are becoming impatient, it’s a great problem to have.”
Jones says he’s focusing on what he can control
“Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure in one of Dana’s last interviews he stated, ‘Jon’s ready to go, just waiting to see what happens between Stipe (Miocic) and Francis (Ngannou),’” Jones wrote on Twitter. “Right now, I’m focusing on controlling what I can, that’s packing on the pounds.”
Jones finds motivation in speed criticism
“For all those who said I looked a little slow in my last training video, I appreciate the added motivation,” Jones wrote on Twitter. “I’ll push harder, can’t wait for you all to see your boy in actual fight shape. Everything has its process.”
Jones targeting a late 2022 return against Ngannou?
“I’ve been hearing whispers about November, but honestly I have no clue,” Jones wrote on Twitter in response to a question about his return. “Been hearing that Francis could possibly be back on the table though.”
Jones says he doesn’t feel slower than usual
“I personally don’t feel slow,” Jones wrote on Twitter. “I’m aware that I’m not in camp and I am in a bulking phase. But I like people judging that version of me, it could only work to my advantage.”
Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie