Jon Jones hasn’t made many friends in the past month. Not that he really had a lot to begin with, considering many fans couldn’t tolerate his sanctimony and general attitude towards his own excellence.
But excellence it is, and as such those fans just plain have to live with Jones standing at his pulpit for now. He’s going to be around for a while, and based on the current crop of contenders, he’s likely going to hold the title for a while, too.
All one can do is accept it and stay away from his interviews and Twitter jabbering, both of which are pretty much this in either verbal or written form.
Jones does, however, have numerous strengths as well. He’s an imposing wrestler and a remarkable athlete, and his range and unorthodox striking throw opponents for a loop. It’s not the most powerful out there, but it gets the job done.
And then there’s that ground and pound. He’ll sit in someone’s guard all day and rain down elbows that have the force of leverage behind them in a way MMA has never seen. He doesn’t elbow to cut, he elbows to smash.
Yes, in the cage the strengths of the champion are numerous.
Away from it is where he’s weak, however.
As people have been quick to point out, the slightest jab ruffles the feathers of the young champ, to the point that he goes into a spiral of self-defense and excuses, each one building on the last.
He is, simply put, a guy who just doesn’t know when to shut up.
When he’s not trying to explain why he’s right and the world is wrong, he shifts gears from petulant to pompous, speaking of his time in the sport as a business, a source of income, a way to put food on the table and not understanding that nobody wants to hear it.
He's certainly not a laid-off Michigan auto worker or a single mom working three jobs to feed the kids.
Sports is a business, but any man with the disposable income to wreck Bentleys at his leisure obviously doesn’t understand what financial hardships actually mean.
The reality is that what MMA has here is a real physical talent. He’s one of the sport’s first truly great athletes, not one of its great fighters. He demolishes the best 205-pounders the world has to offer, and he does it with almost frightening ease. That’s where his strength lies.
Outside of the cage, though, there may be no one weaker.
He’s obnoxious and abrasive, and what’s more is that he genuinely doesn’t see how anyone wouldn’t like him. He’s an obvious PR nightmare and a guy who believes he’ll change the sport by wearing a Nike swoosh and fighting with Dana White over his right shoulder to turn down fights. Therein lies his weakness.
Regardless, though, if you like violence, then he’s your guy. Strengths and weaknesses considered, he provides it with more consistency than anyone else in the sport not named Anderson Silva.
At the end of the day, that’s really the name of the game. Too bad he forgets that so often.