There’s a popular trend that people without any fighting ability could go wild and make bold claims about defeating a professional fighter but James Johnson’s case is perhaps different. The Indiana Pacers’ forward has been associated with basketball for about two-decades, although he is not a novice when it comes to combat sports.
James Johnson is yet to secure a place in his team for the NBA coming season. Meanwhile, he has some bold claims to make regarding his fighting abilities, that include challenging one particular UFC icon the hoi polloi wouldn’t meddle with.
James Johnson claims to beat Jon Jones
NBA professional James Johnson believes he can defeat the widely regarded greatest fighter of all time, Jon ‘Bones’ Jones, with only a year of training. Johnson shared this idea when he spoke with Ryan Hollins, a former NBA player turned sports journalist, on his ‘NBA Rookie Life’ podcast on August 30.
Johnson said, “I rock with [Jon] Jones…I would need a year [to go up against Jones].”
“I think I could beat him, for real.”, he added. “But like I said with a year of training defense. I just need ground defense.”
Unbeknownst to many, James Johnson holds a second-degree black belt in martial arts and had his first MMA fight at the age of 18. He reportedly dominated his opponent, finishing the fight in just 97 seconds. His impressive footwork during fights earned him the nickname ‘Little Ali,’ in honor of the legendary Muhammad Ali.
On the other hand, Jon Jones is a UFC fighter with an impressive record of 26 wins, 1 loss, and no draws. He has secured 10 of his victories by knockout and has been a two-time UFC light heavyweight champion.
Whether we’ll ever see a showdown between the two remains to be seen. However, it will be no ordinary feat for James Johnson if he does manage to beat the UFC icon.
Is James Johnson still playing in the NBA?
Veteran James Johnson is still continuing his professional career and looks to keep going in the NBA 2023-24 season. He has already played 14 seasons in the league and could very well start his fifteenth year in the NBA if he remains on the Indiana Pacers’ final roster.
Since being drafted as the 16th overall pick by the Chicago Bulls in the 2009 NBA Draft, James Johnson has played for 10 different franchises in the league. Throughout his prolonged career, the forward played 747 games, averaging 7.7 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.1 assists in each game. Johnson is expected to boost the Pacers’ frontcourt performance in the upcoming season if he makes their final roster.
What are your thoughts on James Johnson’s claims of defeating UFC icon Jon Jones? Share with us in the comments.