Jones vs Sonnen: Power Ranking Jon Jones UFC Title Defenses
It was only two years ago that a 23-year-old kid achieved a lifelong dream by winning a world title, but now Jon Jones stands as a man who is one win away from being the greatest light heavyweight in UFC history.
At UFC 159, Jones continued his dominant ways by putting a gag on "Oregon Gangster" Chael Sonnen and earning a first-round TKO stoppage.
It marked the fifth successful title defense for Jones, which ties the record held by UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz. There are many in the sport who would call him the best right now. Ortiz's reign was nothing short of spectacular, but he wasn't facing nearly the same level of opposition as Jones.
Sonnen has competed against some of the best fighters in the world, including UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva. At the post-fight press conference, even he admitted Jones was the best fighter he has ever faced:
"He's the best fighter I've ever fought. The last thing I want to do is disparage Anderson Silva, but it's tough for me. I whipped him for 30 minutes, he whipped me for less than 30 seconds. I whipped Jon for 0 seconds, and he whipped me for the entire fight. It's just tough. If you're asking me for my opinion, Jon is better."
Jones is a rare talent, and his instantaneous rise through the light heavyweight ranks can only be categorized as otherworldly.
He isn't defeating up-and-comers or challengers with pipe dreams of one day wearing a UFC title. The wins have come over highly-respected legends of the sport in dominant fashion.
MMA fans should take advantage of every opportunity to witness greatness, and there are very few, if any, greater than Jon Jones.
Today, we rank all of his UFC title defenses.
5) Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans (UFC 145: April 21, 2012)
Jon Jones and Rashad Evans - Esther Lin/MMAFighting
The buildup to the light heavyweight title bout between former teammates Rashad Evans and Jones had enough substance to fill its own Hollywood screenplay.
Unfortunately, the only thing that followed was the same anticlimactic drivel found in most modern-day popcorn flicks.
Evans froze in place and watched in awe as Jones soundly picked him apart for five rounds. As impressive as Jones' performance was against Evans, it was easily his least memorable.
4) Jon Jones vs. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (UFC 135: September 24, 2011)
Jon Jones and Quinton Jackson - MMAFighting.com
After defeating Mauricio "Shogun" Rua for the UFC title, Jones cemented his place as the new light heavyweight king in his first title defense against Quinton "Rampage" Jackson at UFC 135.
Even a $1 million training camp wasn't enough to save Rampage from Jones, who dominated en route to a fourth-round submission victory.
A fighter is expected to defend his title to truly be considered a champion. Jones not only defended his title, but he completely decimated a former champion and one of MMA's all-time greats.
3) Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen (UFC 159: April 27, 2013)
Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen - Esther Lin/MMAFighting
Chael Sonnen made good on his promise to go down swinging like a gangster in his UFC 159 title bout against Jones.
In the face of gargantuan odds, Sonnen drew confidence from his wrestling, as it was the one thing he really felt he could do better than Jones.
He spent his entire life drilling and perfecting his wrestling, but it only took four minutes inside the cage with Jones for him to realize it wasn't enough.
Jones surprised the world by taking Sonnen down three times before finishing with ground strikes and earning the first round TKO stoppage. After the fight, even a broken toe couldn't stop Jones from running around the Octagon in celebration of finally quieting the self-proclaimed "Oregon Gangster."
2) Jon Jones vs. Lyoto Machida (UFC 140: December 10, 2011)
Jon Jones and Lyoto Machida - Esther Lin/MMAFighting
Jones' second-round submission win over Lyoto Machida was one of the scariest finishes by a fighter in UFC history.
Machida certainly deserves props for being the first fighter to truly test Jones' ability to overcome adversity.
In the first round, he managed to find his range and consistently land on Jones in the standup exchanges—a feat no one else has ever been able to accomplish.
The game of cat and mouse came to an end in the second round as Jones finally secured a takedown and busted up Machida's face with elbows.
Machida's entire game plan seemed to go out the window after seeing his own blood. Jones took advantage by locking up a standing guillotine and putting the former champ's lights out.
After the referee called an end to the fight, Jones simply released the hold and let Machida's unconscious body crumple to the canvas.
1) Jon Jones vs. Vitor Belfort (UFC 152: September 22, 2012)
Jon Jones and Vitor Belfort - Esther Lin/MMAFighting
Through all his dominance, people still complained about Jones never being in a situation where he had to overcome adversity.
Sure, Lyoto Machida gave him a tough first round at UFC 140, but one would hardly consider that a serious test of Jones' will.
At UFC 152, Jones was tested beyond his limits after getting caught in an armbar by Vitor Belfort in the first round of their title bout. The hold was fully extended, but Jones showed the heart of a champion in refusing to give up.
Even after having his arm pop, Jones remained patient, found a way to escape the hold and took over the fight with wrestling and vicious ground-and-pound.
It was all Jones after the armbar attempt, as he racked up unanswered ground strikes before finishing with a submission in the fourth round.