For five years and more, Anderson “The Spider” Silva and Georges “Rush” St-Pierre have held sway over their respective divisions. The question is, who will replace MMA’s No. 1 and No. 2 pound-for-pound kingpins when their reigns come to an end or when they decide to hang ‘em up?
Both combatants have captured the public’s imagination with their consummate professionalism and unerring skill sets.
Whilst Silva (a record nine title defenses) has more times than not, clinically dismantled his opponents, St-Pierre (six title defenses) has been content to employ his all-around athleticism to grind out results.
Furthermore, the Canadian denizen is more or less the face of the UFC.
Presently, only one fighter fits the bill and that one fighter is sure to carry the torch into the next phase of MMA and for the next generation of combatants to grace a ring or steel cage.
The fighter who holds the honor of replacing Silva (31-4 MMA, 14-0 UFC) and St-Pierre (22-2 MMA, 16-2 UFC) is none other than the phenom that is Jon “Bones” Jones.
The fans might love to loathe him, they might wish for his cataclysmic demise, but one thing they will readily admit, is that Jones is the real deal both inside and outside of the Octagon.
He’s possesses the looks and charisma.
At only 24, he’s well-grounded, and to boot, he’s a family man with two children. Jones is also fast turning into a well-known celebrity, and if that isn’t enough, his overall persona, makes him a public-relations dream.
In addition to the aforesaid attributes, the Endicott, N.Y., native holds the distinction of being the youngest-ever UFC champion at age 23, when he relieved Mauricio Rua of the light heavyweight title.
He followed that up with three successive title defenses (only the fourth 205-pounder to achieve that feat in UFC history) against erstwhile champions Quinton Jackson, Lyoto Machida and former friend and training partner Rashad Evans.
Jones’ vicious and sometimes unfathomably unorthodox style of fighting has garnered him rave reviews and has also helped catapult him to the status of No. 3 ranked fighter in the MMA world.
Jones (16-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC) is the right replacement once Silva and St-Pierre have ridden into the sunset.