NBA’s James Johnson Sets Sights on UFC’s Jon Jones with Ambitious Challenge
NBA star James Johnson, known for his imposing 6’7″, 250lb frame, is setting his sights on an ambitious challenge: UFC heavyweight champion Jon Jones. Despite the vast difference in their respective sports, Johnson believes he could take on Jones with just one intensive year of MMA training.
Johnson’s confidence in his abilities isn’t unfounded. He boasts a second-degree black belt in karate and reportedly holds an undefeated kickboxing record of 20–0, along with a 7–0 mark in MMA. While he acknowledges Jones’s status as one of the greatest fighters in the UFC, Johnson believes that honing his ground defense would make him a formidable opponent.
“I think I could beat him for real,” Johnson declared during an appearance on the NBA Rookie Life with Ryan Hollins podcast. “With a year of training defense, I just need ground defense. I’ve been punching and kicking since I was five, six years old.”
Jon Jones, often regarded as the pound-for-pound best fighter in the UFC, boasts a remarkable career record of 27–1–0 in the heavyweight division, including 10 knockouts and seven wins by submission. While Johnson’s confidence is admirable, challenging a fighter of Jones’s caliber remains a monumental task.
Moreover, Johnson’s claims of an amateur MMA career during high school and college are met with skepticism due to a lack of verifiable records. The potential risks associated with a professional athlete participating in such activities during their pursuit of a successful career are noteworthy.
Despite the odds stacked against him, Johnson remains resolute in his belief that a year of dedicated training could level the playing field against Jones, emphasizing the importance of bolstering his ground defense to compete at the highest level of MMA.