Surging light heavyweight contender Thiago Santos is scheduled for the biggest fight of his career when he meets champion Jon Jones in the main event of July 6’s UFC 239 from Las Vegas.

The powerful knockout striker has been disposing of everyone in his path in his recent move up to 205 pounds. “Marreta” has earned a 205-pound title shot as a result. But he also knows this fight will be unlike any of his previous matches.

Speaking to MMA Junkie about the big fight recently, Santos acknowledged just how crafty ‘Bones’ is. Yet that won’t stop him from making Jones ‘suffer’ wherever the fight goes:

“He’s a very intelligent guy, so I need to be ready for everything. I need to be ready for everything and to make him suffer everywhere. If it’s on the ground, he has to suffer, if it’s on the feet, he has to suffer. If he takes me to the fence, he will suffer. That’s how I see it.”

No Secret Formula

Despite that ultra-confident mindset, however, Santos knows Jones will adapt to whatever is thrown at him. There is no set formula for beating the all-time MMA great, he conceded. Any such formula for beating Jones would have shown itself by now according to Santos:

“If there was a formula, or a secret, someone would have figured it out already,” Santos said. “That’s something we’ll see then. We’re working on it, my coaches are studying him, but I think he’s a very intelligent guy. He adapts. If the fight is bad on the feet, he goes to the ground, if it’s bad on the ground, he goes to the feet. If it’s bad at the center of the cage, he takes it to the fence, if it gets bad on the fence, he takes it to the center.”

Due to that ability to adapt, Santos pointed out that we’ve not really seen a weakness in his game. “Marreta” also clarified that we haven’t really seen Jones with his back on the mat absorbing ground and pound. He wants to make Jones react to that, but he reiterated he must also be ready for everything:

“We haven’t really been able to see a weakness in his game,” Santos said. “But we have never seen him with his back against the ground – better yet, with his back to the ground and a hand landing heavily.

“Then, we’ll see. That’s something we haven’t seen, how he reacts to a powerful ground-and-pound from the top. But anyway, more than ever I need to be ready for anything. He’s a very well-rounded guy, he adjusts to wherever the fight is, so my strategy is to make him feel bad wherever he is.”