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1 Mar, 2019 23:45

Jon Jones targets dominant title reign, starting with victory over Anthony Smith at UFC235

Jon Jones targets dominant title reign, starting with victory over Anthony Smith at UFC235

Two-time UFC light-heavyweight world champion Jon 'Bones' Jones will make the first title defense of his second run as undisputed champion this Saturday, but he faces a determined new challenger who plans to shock the world.

UFC light-heavyweight world champion Jones will look to put his title on the line against Anthony Smith in the main event of the evening. Smith says he will not fall into the same trap many of Jones' previous opponents have fallen into down the years.

Smith says many of them were beaten almost before they stepped into the octagon, but insists he will not be overawed when he makes his first-ever appearance in a UFC world title fight.

Instead, he wants to give a completely different type of challenge to the pound-for-pound king, as he brings a high-intensity approach to the cage to face the all-conquering world champion.

Despite Saturday's fight being his first world title bout, Smith is no rookie. The 30-year-old American has 43 fights to his name, with 31 wins and 13 losses. The former middleweight has lost just twice since the start of 2014 and is unbeaten in three fights in the UFC's light-heavyweight division.

All three of those wins came against big-name opposition, and all came by finish. He knocked out former UFC champions Rashad Evans and Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua in quickfire fashion, stopping the pair in 53 and 89 seconds respectively. Then, in his most recent outing, he took on former title challenger and dangerous knockout artist Volkan Oezdemir and showed his grappling skills as he submitted the Swiss with 34 seconds remaining in Moncton, Canada last October.

Now he's ready to face Jones, who has never been beaten inside the octagon - bar a questionable disqualification for illegal elbows.


Jones returned from a drug suspension to stop Sweden's Alexander Gustafsson in the third round of their world title rematch at UFC 232 last December, and is now looking to embark on another dominant run as UFC light-heavyweight champion.

Jones first won the UFC light-heavyweight title back in 2011 with a third-round finish of Mauricio Rua, then went on to defend it against a who's who of UFC light-heavyweight stars including Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Evans, Vitor Belfort, Glover Teixeira, Gustafsson and his big rival, Daniel Cormier.

He defended his title as many as eight times in a row before being stripped of his title following his involvement in a hit-and-run incident that left a pregnant woman with a broken arm.

When Jones returned, he captured the interim title by defeating Ovince Saint-Preux, but was later stripped of it after testing positive for clomiphene and letrozole.

Jones made another comeback the following summer for world title rematch with Cormier, which he won by a spectacular knockout. That victory was wiped from the record and Jones was stripped of the title for a second time, after he was discovered to have tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.


After a year and a half away from competitive action, Jones cleared his name of any deliberate ingestion of banned substances and was cleared to return last December, where he dominated Gustafsson to claim the vacant title once again.

Now he is looking to go on a controversy-free run as a dominant world champion once again, starting with victory on Saturday night against Smith, who will offer a fresh, new, different challenge to the Albuquerque native's dominance at the top of the UFC's 205-pound division.

With Jones looking to stamp his authority on the UFC light-heavyweight division in his first title defense since recapturing the title - and with Smith arriving as a single-mindedly determined contender with a lifetime of experience and a burning desire to upset the odds - Saturday night's main event could well produce a better, more fascinating fight than many are predicting.

Follow live updates on UFC 235 with RT Sport on Saturday night.