Jones, who is considered by many as the greatest mixed martial artist ever, and Smith fought for Bones’ 205-pound strap at UFC 235 in March 2019. The match went all five rounds and although Jones was deducted a point in the fourth round due to an illegal knee, the champion swept the scorecards in dominant fashion (48–44, 48–44, 48–44).
During a recent interview with Morning Kombat, Smith said he was off that night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, which he said led to one of the worst performances of his professional career.
Even though Smith has been brutally defeated before — like when he sustained a five-round beating from Glover Teixeira in May 2020 — Lionheart said that he viewed the Jones fight as the worst loss of his career because he felt like he “didn’t show up” in the way that he should have.
“I just didn’t show up,” Smith said. “And Jon Jones is beatable, very beatable. He’s — I’m going to get roasted online for this — he’s not that good.”
“That’s an interesting quote,” Morning Kombat’s Brian Campbell responded.
“He’s pretty f****** good,” co-host Luke Thomas also chimed in.
Smith Said That Jones Is the Talent That He Is Because of His Coaching & Ability to Act on Command
“Not individually,” Smith replied to Thomas’ comment. “Like, if you take his individual skillsets and you take them away, each one of those things are not a problem. It’s when you put them together and he puts it into the full package — that’s the problem.
“His fight IQ is not crazy high. He’s well coached and he does what he’s told very, very well. When I fought him, if (Mike) Winkeljohn wasn’t saying anything, Jon goes into a holding pattern. His holding pattern is the same — it’s the stance switches, it’s the oblique kicks, it’s the front kicks to the body. And then once they start talking in code, then Jon goes and does what he’s supposed to do, and then he comes back to his holding pattern. He doesn’t actually make any decisions on his own.”
“And that’s a credit to him,” Smith said. Lionheart also admitted that Jones was “a dog” inside the cage due to his chin and fortitude.
Smith Said He’d Fair Well Against Jones if They Competed in Different, Singular Martial Arts
“If you take his boxing and if Jon and I were to just box, I don’t think he’s the GOAT,” Smith continued. “I think we have a very competitive striking match. [If] we’re just doing No Gi jiu-jitsu, I don’t think Jon Jones beats me in a jiu-jitsu match. Wrestling, he probably wins that.
“But, it’s not the individual skillset that he has. It’s the way that he puts it together. It’s his range and his distance management. He is a dog, he’s got a lot of physical gifts that he uses very well.”
A major talking point about Jones has always been his distinct reach advantage over other light heavyweights. But according to Smith, it was a non-factor in their contest.
“His 84.5-inch reach — non-issue,” Smith said. “It’s a total non-issue. I wasted an entire training camp worrying about it … because he doesn’t box like that. He doesn’t use it — upper body. His range is the problem from the waist down.”