Watching MMA can, at times, become a predictable scene of shoots, ground and pound, and flailing punches from wrestlers-turned-fighters hoping to put their opponent at the mercy of their most practiced techniques. Based on an athlete’s background, these strengths are usually easy to predict and plan for. But when guys are in against UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones, there is no playbook, no winning strategy; there is only damage control. Jones’ mastery of unconventional strikes and artful ground game have turned him into the sport’s most dangerous fighter. He holds a near perfect 20-1 record, the lone blemish coming as the result of a disqualification. He has nine wins by knockout and six by submission and, in 2011, became the youngest UFC champion in history. It might just be that no one “beats” Jones but Jones.
Birth Date: July 19, 1987
Birthplace: Rochester, NY
Residence: Ithaca, NY
Weight: 205 pounds
You studied criminal justice in college. What was the goal, and do you ever wonder what might have been?
I was definitely interested in doing some type of law enforcement at some point when I started with it. Of course I don’t regret it. As you can see, my life turned out a little different than what I expected, but I can’t complain.
You are one of the most creative, unorthodox fighters that pro MMA has ever seen. How does one practice to be unconventional?
I don’t think one practices to be unconventional; it sort of just comes to you. I feel good about the fact that my opponents don’t know what’s coming to them when they face me.
You are naturally long and lean. Is it easy for you to gain or hold muscle?
I feel like it’s been easy to gain muscle because I am so lean. I can definitely put weight on easily, as you can see in my pics when I’m not in training camp.
What noncombat exercises do you focus on to build strength and stamina for fights?
For stamina, I like swimming, mountain climbing and just high-intensity everything.
What’s your nutrition like?
I definitely don’t count calories when I’m out of camp. When I’m in camp, I try to go organic and just focus on healthy carbs and lean protein.
How do supplements fit into your training, nutrition and recovery?
I use MuscleTech products daily when I’m in camp to stay at the top of my game. I use Nitro Tech protein postworkout for strength and Phase8 protein before bed for recovery. I use Amino Build during training, and I can definitely feel it when I’m putting in the work to stay on top. I definitely don’t start camp without it.
What does a typical workout look like for you?
My typical workout in camp is sparring, weight training and cardio — all high-intensity stuff. The guys at Elevate (elevatephw.com) in Albuquerque, [New Mexico], are always pushing me into something new, whether it be sled running for 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off, or squatting until I can’t anymore. We primarily focus on the big muscle groups like chest, legs and back. My sparring is usually 10 rounds at five minutes each round, and that’s for every discipline.