Jon Jones defeated Vitor Belfort to defend the light heavyweight title at UFC 152 in Toronto. However, the champion nearly lost the fight in the first round, and the lessons learned from the close call will benefit him going forward.
Jones landed a vicious kick to Beflort’s ribs in the third round, and this eventually led to a win by submission for the champion at the beginning of the fourth round.
However, Belfort nearly pulled off what would have been the most shocking victory in UFC history when he caught Jones in an armbar in the first round. Jones’ arm bent in a gruesomely unnatural way before he was finally able to escape from Belfort’s grasp.
ESPN’s Brett Okamoto quotes Jones discussing the effects of that hold.
I've never had my arm popped like that before. I felt it, but I worked too hard to give up. I honestly was waiting for it to break.
It just felt numb. My brain is trained to throw it, so I threw it, but it didn't feel powerful at all.
This result was ideal for Jones because he earned another impressive victory, but was also humbled by nearly losing to Belfort.
Anderson Silva grew far too cocky before Chael Sonnen dominated for the majority of their 2010 bout. Silva was able to get Sonnen in a triangle armbar and escape with a victory. Jones certainly risked following this trend as he knocked off one former champion after the other.
With this victory, Jones will have an extremely sore arm to remind him how quick the fall from the top can come in this sport. He will certainly reevaluate his strategy and mindset before he steps in the Octagon again.
Jones was immediately aware of the need to improve after the fight, saying, “I've got a lot of work to do against southpaws for sure,” via ESPN.co.uk.
There is so much more to learn from defeats than victories, but Jones is in the position of being painfully reminded that he must get better as a fighter and he did not have to suffer a loss.
This result will allow Jones to grow as a fighter while also improving on his already impressive résumé.