Anderson Silva's loss at UFC 162 moved Jon Jones up to the No. 1 position in the pound-for-pound rankings. The new king is the dominant champion of the UFC's most storied division.
For the most part, I say yes.
There is no one in the division today that should be able to challenge Jones, and all the while he is growing as a fighter. He has won the title and defended it five times (a divisional record), while still learning new techniques in all the appropriate areas. His physical gifts took him to the top of the sport.
16 Consecutive UFC Wins
Currently, Jones stands at nine wins. If not for a missed call against Matt Hamill, it would be at 12 already. A defeat of Alexander Gustafsson later this year will make it 10.
To reach 16 he will need to keep the winning going for three years. Jones fought four times in 2011, but that included coming in against Shogun Rua on late notice to win the title. The past two years he will have fought two times in each year. That seems to be the pace for UFC champions now.
His biggest challenge may be Daniel Cormier, but there is no guarantee he will drop to 205. Outside of Cormier, it is hard to envision another fighter challenging Jones. For the foreseeable future, he owns the division and can easily collect this record.
10 Title Defenses
Jones is already halfway there. He can make it six by winning against Gustafsson.
That means over the course of the next three years, he needs to tie the consecutive win mark to surpass the title defense threshold. However, there is the chance that the record gets broken before Jones gets there. GSP already has eight title defenses to his credit with a ninth scheduled against Johny Hendricks.
Until that happens, the record is 10. Jones can definitely exceed that.
12 Post-Fight Award Bonuses
Silva knows how to collect extra paychecks when he fights. He is the all-time leader.
Jones has five post-fight bonuses to his credit. This may be the first record for Silva that is safe.
The 26-year-old has plenty of time, but his current adopted style is not conducive to winning post-fight bonuses. He has become more methodical. He has yet to show true one-punch or kick power in the stand-up, and his submission game is still evolving.
His dominance is entertaining, but we often see an undercard fighter do something more to warrant the extra paycheck prior to Jones running through his competition. He has time on his side to reach the mark, but it is hard to imagine him getting there. It has already taken him five years to get five bonus checks. At an average of one a year, he would need to fight for at least another eight years to capture this particular record.
Silva currently holds three striking records, and Jones is not the most polished striker in the sport. It will be difficult for him to reach these.
Eleven TKO/KO finishes, 17 knockdowns and 67.5 percent significant striking accuracy—ridiculous numbers.
Where is Jones at right now? Four TKO finishes, four knockdowns and a 53 percent significant striking accuracy. He is nowhere close.
Even if Jones wins all six of his next bouts by TKO, he will still be short of the record and most likely behind on the other statistics as well. Matching Silva's extraordinary striking numbers will be difficult for a fighter who utilizes his grappling as much as Jones.
This is certainly not a knock on the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter today. It is more a testament to Silva's brilliance standing. If Jones goes on to break the other records, I think he'll be fine with coming up short in the striking department.
All in all, the important records are within Jones' reach. If he makes the trek to heavyweight, it will be even harder to reach. His physical skills, along with his growing technical advantages, make him the hardest fighter in any division to knock off. No one has come close, and it doesn't look like any current light heavyweight will be for the foreseeable future.
Jones has a lot of work to put in. The light heavyweight kingpin's determination to be the best ever makes it likely we could be arguing that he is the greatest mixed martial artist ever in just a few years.
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