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Daniel Cormier: Jon Jones ‘did not punch very hard,’ will have to rely on skill vs. Ciryl Gane

Daniel Cormier questions Jon Jones’ power in his transition to heavyweight.

Former 205-pound champ Jones (26-1 MMA, 20-1 UFC) makes his heavyweight debut when he faces Ciryl Gane (11-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) for the vacant belt in Saturday’s UFC 285 headliner at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPNews and early prelims on ESPN+.

Having fought Jones twice, Cormier says Jones doesn’t have one-punch knockout power that would pose a threat to Gane, and will need to dig deep into his toolset to best the Frenchman.

“I think he’s going to have to use a skill, because I tell you this right now – Jones did not punch very hard,” Cormier said on his ESPN show “DC & RC.” “Like, that was one of the things that stood out about him. Now, he kneed hard, he kicked hard, he elbowed hard. He did a lot of things very well.

“But in terms of his punching ability, he didn’t have like jarring power. Now, gaining 30 pounds, maybe he gets a bit of a heavier punch, but he will never match Ciryl Gane in terms of the punching power. He’s going to need his skill in order to do this.”

However, Cormier thinks Gane matches Jones in both skill and physical attributes, making him a very tough stylistic matchup.

“Here’s the issue, Ciryl Gane possesses a lot of those same skills,” Cormier added. “He can stand on the outside and fight, he can pot shot you from the outside, and he does possess jarring power when he does land. Jon Jones always had a bit of a size advantage over a lot of the guys that he fought at 205 too. That’s going to be missing. But when you look at Jones, he looks bigger.

“But a lot of the weight is up top. His bottom half still looks pretty slim. You look at Ciryl Gane, it looks like somebody stuck an air pump in that dude’s mouth and just started pumping. He looks huge, but he only weighs about 250 pounds. He’s not heavy. He’s just lean, he’s ripped, and he’s big, and he’s strong. This is a very big challenge for Jon Jones.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 285.

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