I managed to catch up with Jon Jones earlier today after dealing with a rather challenging morning. We didn't talk for long, but I wanted to dig a little deeper into how Jones evaluates Rampage.
I generally think Jones' assessments are correct. He isn't creating a Rampage in his head who is incapable of defeating him. But he acknowledges question marks about Jackson's skills appropriately: has Rampage's game stagnated and what's the truth about his vaunted punching power? In Jones' mind, it's probably significant, but not the crippling, get-out-of-jail-free type of one-shot power.
"The only thing I can get from that [the Matt Hamill fight] is to start judging his punching power," Jones told me. "Rampage is banking on a knockout. Technically he knows that he's at a disadvantage, but when it comes to physical power he knows that he's at an advantage. He's banking on a knockout. Watching Matt Hamill get punched over and over again by Rampage, watching Lyoto [Machida] get caught clean by Rampage...it just reassures me that maybe his punching power isn't all what it's cracked up to be anymore."
Jones goes on to tell me which of Rampage's wins was his best and if the Forrest Griffin-leg kicking clinic that helped snatch the belt from Rampage's hands will make another appearance on Saturday.