Unless you've been under a rock for the last year and a half, then you know who Jon Jones is. Jones is arguably the hottest prospect in the UFC right now. And if you have seen him fight, then you know exactly why. Jones fights in a stacked light-heavyweight divsion, a divsion that features stars such as Thiago Silva, Forrest Griffin, and Lyoto Machida. And he may stand out above them all (at least, in my eyes).
What does Jones bring to the cage, you might ask? Well there is the very solid, very unorthodox striking game. Not to mention the dominant takedowns, especially from the clinch. His submissions are good, especially so early in his career. Jones is proficient in Muay-Thai and Greco Roman wrestling. Training with Greg Jackson down in Albequerque will only make him a better fighter, and that's just scary, especially if you fight at 205.
What about his physical traits? Jones stands 6 ft. 4 inches tall, and has an incredible reach (and the longest in the UFC) of 84 inches. He is very strong. You want evidence? Watch his three round domination of Stephan Bonnar. Jones took Bonnar down countless times in that fight.
He was also able to keep him down, which not many people are able to do. As mentioned above, Jones' striking is very unorthodox. For example, he has popularized a move that is now known as the spinning-back elbow.
Jon Jones is also a very consistent fighter, losing only once in his first ten fights. His first loss? It was by DQ via illegal elbow. Before the elbow was thrown, Jon Jones was dominating TUF vet Matt Hamill.
But I'm not going to ramble on about how great Jon Jones is. I'm going to talk about what happens to him after he beats Brandon Vera. Obviously, the fight won't be for a title shot. Brandon Vera was out of title contention a long time ago, and Jones hasn't done quite enough in the UFC to earn one.
So, here is my proposition.
When Jon Jones beats Brandon Vera at UFC On Versus 1, match him up against someone who challenges him in all aspects of the game. Make it against a fighter who is popular, a fighter fans love no matter what. There are many fighters who fit the bill, but there is only one that I'm thinking about. Enter Forrest Griffin.
Forrest Griffin made a name for himself by fighting in the greatest fight in UFC history; Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar. That was about five years ago. Since then, Griffin has gone on to become one of the greatest light-heavyweights in UFC history.
The fans love him, Joe Rogan loves him. And Forrest always puts on a good fight, save for when he got dominated by Anderson Silva.
Griffin is going into a bout against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Considering that it's at UFC 114, at the end of may, the likelihood of a Jon Jones vs. Forrest Griffin fight in the near future is small.
But if the UFC pulled it off, imagine the money they could make.
Jon Jones, after his performance at TUF 10 Finale in December, is very marketable. Forrest Griffin has been marketable since 2005, and his marketability has only increased since then. This is a fight that could headline a UFC card on pay-per-view. Like Matt Hamill, Forrest Griffin will show us what more Jon Jones has to offer.
If Jones loses the fight, then no big deal. After all, it would be only his twelfth professional fight, against one of the best 205 pounders in the world. He would be forgiven. But if he won, imagine the money the UFC could make off of him. This kid is only 22. He is already a tough fight for almost anyone. The sky is the limit for him. In five years, he could be one of the best in the sport.
If your still here, thanks for hanging in there through all the rambling. What I'm trying to say is the UFC needs to market Jon Jones starting now. They have already stepped forward, making him the main event of a big fight card. After that, please pit him against Forrest Griffin. After all, what can go wrong if he loses to one of the best in the game?