‘Once in a lifetime’: How Bulldogs landed UFC’s greatest fighter straight off the plane

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UFC: Jon Jones has landed down under, here to participate in some meet and greets and to experience the country.

Which is why, to a man, every single Canterbury player turned up to Belmore Oval on Friday morning despite having themselves a rostered day off.

Despite the day having already been declared training free, every player still attended the session that, initially slated for Tuesday, and then rescheduled after Jones’ arrival Down Under was delayed, saw the champ spend several hours inside Dogs HQ talking largely about “mindset”. Which is something so often forgotten about this fighter who, apart from being among the UFC’s most gifted athletes, and once its youngest champion, has most recently spent three long years preparing for his second title in a new weight class.“And you can’t do that unless you have a real strong grounding in who you want to be and what you want to do.

Whittaker, fellow UFC fighter Jacob Malkoun and their esteemed head coach Alex Prates were all part of the Panthers defensive crew through two premiership seasons and are now with Ciraldo at Belmore. Asked about having his players mix in with Whittaker and co. Ciraldo said: “We have a great relationship with those guys and often have Rob training alongside us .“And we’re so lucky to have that.“And to then get Jon Jones into camp … it’s been a great experience.”


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