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UFC 165: 3 Burning Questions We Have About Jon Jones

Dec 10, 2011; Toronto, ON, Canada; UFC fighter Jon Jones (top) against fighter Lyoto Machida during a light heavyweight bout at UFC 140 at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
Dan HiergesellFeatured ColumnistSeptember 19, 2013

Everybody knows how good Jon Jones is.

He has fought his way to the top of the light heavyweight hill to gain the status as the best pound-for-pound mixed martial artist on the planet.

Jones has accomplished this gigantic feat so early in his career by combining tantalizing physical attributes with unheralded offensive potency.  That's something we rarely see in today's sport, and it's the very reason he's the consensus king of combat.

But as good as the champ isand this goes for any professional athletehe is not invincible.  It may look like he is when he's throwing standing elbows, landing crisp leg kicks and defending with precision, but everyone is susceptible to slipping up eventually (Anderson Silva).

Jones' upcoming battle with the 6'5" Alexander Gustafsson may already seem like just another notch in Jones' belt, but that's actually a very intricate mirage.

The Swedish challenger is one of the best young prospects in the sport, and he has all the tools to one day be a world champion.

Whether he'll reach that potential this Saturday remains to be seen, but weand Jonesmust be cautious about underestimating "The Mauler."

With that said, there are a few important questions Jones must answer—questions that will not only impact his upcoming title defense but also his career, legacy and overall well-being.

 

How will he deal with Gustafsson's size?

As it stands right now, Gustafsson is the biggest opponent Jones has ever faced.  His reach is ridiculous, his striking is rangy, and his hands are dangerous.

Maybe Jones took this fight to demonstrate that size isn't a problem for him.  But for a guy who has mostly defeated veterans on the decline over the past few years, accepting a war with a young wolf could come back to bite him.

It's going to be interesting to see how Jones reacts to not only Gustafsson's offense but also his defense.  The champ may find it difficult to land all the shin kicks and lunging elbows he's used to building victories around.

As crazy as it sounds, Jones could get caught if he isn't cautious about the Swede's deadly posture.

 

Can he pull off another impressive finish?

This question sort of goes hand in hand with the previous one, but it's important nonetheless.  For Jones to truly solidify himself as the greatest light heavyweight of all time, he has to be able to finish young and hungry contenders.

Gustafsson fits that bill on all levels, so it's important Jones puts on a good show.  If Jones wins by decision or gets caught early and has to fight for points, some people could consider that a miniature failure.

Georges St-Pierre is really the only high-level champion who makes a living out of grinding out decisions.  Jones isn't that type of fighter.  His bread and butter is battering opponents, tiring them out and taking their Octagon souls before the final buzzer goes off.

If he isn't able to demonstrate the dominance and offensive explosiveness he has in the past, which could be a result of Gustafsson's size and youth, some people might look at his victories over aging ex-champions and wonder.

 

Will this be his last fight at 205?

There has been a lot of speculation regarding what Jones plans to do after he takes care of the business at hand.

That business at hand is defending the light heavyweight title against Gustafsson, and those potential future plans revolve around moving up and competing as a heavyweight.

Some might consider such a move absolute insanity. Jones is only 26 years old, and he is a polarized MMA torchbearer. But while the decision might seem somewhat unjust and self-driven, Jones could fare well by packing on a few extra pounds.

He seems very interested in making the move fairly soon, and Saturday may very well be the last time we see "Bones" standing inside the Octagon as a 205-pounder.

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