Another way to look at Jones' escape from Vitor Belfort's armbar is as confirmation of the champion's grit and toughness. He had faced very little adversity up to this point, and I'd say he passed the test with flying colors.
That armbar would have caused lesser men to tap out, but Jones fought through the pain of a possibly dislocated elbow to avoid a submission defeat. He proceeded to dominate his opponent for the rest of the fight, until he himself would win by submission in the fourth round.
In this fight, Jones leaned on a sidekick to the thigh and knee to disrupt his opponent. He then used his length and technique to execute a proficient display of ground-and-pound. Part of the appeal of watching Jones is seeing what new tactic he will unveil.
This was no amateur he pounded with elbows on the ground and ultimately submitted with an americana. This was Belfort—the man known as "The Phenom," a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, a premier striker and a UFC legend.
Yet beyond the close call with the armbar in the first round, Jones made him look as defenseless as every other opponent he's faced. It is amazing how a champion with a target on his back, like Jones, can consistently defeat top competition. He has now defeated five straight ex-champions.
This was originally supposed to be Dan Henderson facing Jones, but an injury forced him to back out. The outcome would have been the same. There is no light heavyweight that the MMA world has seen who can defeat Jones.
It is that simple.
He is too big, too skilled and apparently too tough for anyone at the weight class to handle. If Jones is going to lose, it'll have to be at heavyweight or years from now when he's lost something.
Some may call my assessment biased, but it is far from that. It is simply a recognition of greatness and the rarest combination of size, talent and mettle the sport has ever seen.
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