Jon Jones is the Next Big Thing in the UFC

Chris SandersonCorrespondent IAugust 16, 2010

X-Factor definition:

The unknown factor or the unexplainable thing which adds a certain value to that object, element or person.

Every few years an unknown fighter comes along that stands out from the crowd.

On August 9 2008, little-known Jon “Bones” Jones made his UFC debut with a unanimous decision win over the more fancied Andre Gusmao.

While his victory over Gusmao was not exactly spectacular, his follow up decision win over Stephan Bonnar drew plenty of attention, as he showcased his elite wrestling ability and unusual striking techniques, including his trademark spinning back elbow.

With each proceeding fight he has continued to up the ante, and regardless of the opponent, has steamrolled all comers.     

When it comes to Jon Jones, there is just something about him that demands you pay attention. He exudes the proverbial X factor.

Perhaps it is his exciting and unorthodox fighting style? Perhaps it is his phenomenal wrestling ability, or perhaps it is his humbleness in a sport dominated by big mouths and bigger egos?

Regardless, Jon Jones has so many good things going for himself right now, and the hype surrounding this kid is real. While fans were already paying attention; now potential opponents have started to take notice of the promising young fighter as well.

His 6’4” frame and 84.5” reach (the longest in the UFC), coupled with his well rounded skill set; creates a match-up nightmare for most opponents. Consequently, Jones has not tasted defeat in MMA combat, although he has registered a loss due to a disqualification.

When Jones was fighting Matt Hamill, referee Steve Mazzagatti stopped the fight to take a point off Jones, after he struck Hamill with two illegal 12-6 elbows. As it quickly became apparent that Hamill could not continue, the fight was called off and Jonny “Bones” celebrated his win.

When the decision was read by Bruce Buffer, Jones discovered he had actually been disqualified for the illegal elbows. The manner in which he conducted himself after the decision was announced, and also in the postfight interview, was all class. A lot of fighters could take lessons in humility from this kid.

Jones’ humble demeanor does not portray the violence of which he is capable. The biggest names Jonny “Bones” has fought in his short UFC career have all been assaulted.

Brandon Vera found out “the truth” concerning his self perceived greatness, as Jones smashed his face in, breaking it in three places.

Outstanding wrestler Matt Hamill was manhandled by Jones, in a way no fighter had done before. The “hammer” was hammered brutally on the ground by Jonny Bones; to the point where Jones was looking up at referee Steve Mazzagatti, wondering why the fight had not being stopped.

Jon Jones’ stature in the UFC has continued to grow with each passing victory; yet Jones has not rested on his laurels in an effort to keep improving.

After brief stints with other training camps, Jones was accepted into Jackson’s Submission fighting academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico, under legendary MMA trainer Greg Jackson.

With training partners like Rashad Evans and GSP, it is no wonder Jones’ wrestling has evolved to such a high calibre. His takedown ability is up there with GSP’s, and his clinch takedowns are as good as you will see in MMA.

Recently I published an article titled “Squashing the Spider: Top Five Fighters Who Could Defeat Anderson Silva.” In hindsight, the fact that I did not include Jon Jones on my list was a grave error. If Chael Sonnen was able to maul Silva in the manner in which he did, one can only imagine what Jones could do to the Spider.

At UFC 123 in November of this year, Jones will be squaring off against Forrest Griffin (unconfirmed). The ever popular Forrest has had a great run in the UFC since defeating Stephan Bonnar in the “fight of the century,” which was the conclusion to the original Ultimate Fighter reality show.

As popular with fans as Forrest is, he must have angered the gods to have drawn Jon Jones as his next opponent. While Griffin has pulled off big upsets before, it is highly unlikely he will prove to be anything more than another stepping stone in Jones’ steady rise to the top.

The LHW division in the UFC is absolutely stacked at the top end; however if Jones makes short work of Griffin, he will probably be one fight/victory away from title contention, as there is only so long that fans will tolerate DW and Joe Silva handling Jones with kid-gloves.

A victory over Griffin will likely lead to a fight against either the winner of Bader/Little Nog (UFC 119), or the winner of Jackson/Machida (UFC 123), and should he win that fight, things would really start to get interesting for Jones.

While there is no doubting Jones’ loyalty and support is with Rashad Evans when he fights Mauricio Rua for the LHW title in the near future; an Evans victory is actually a problem for Jones. Rashad Evans is Jon Jones “big brother” and Jones has stated in multiple interviews that he does not want to fight Rashad.

On the other hand, Jones has also stated that he wishes to dominate the UFC in the same manner as his idol Anderson Silva has done, so he may not have a choice about fighting Rashad, if he desires to stand on top of the mountain that is the LHW division.

With the momentum and confidence "Bones" Jones is building with each passing victory, it is entirely feasible that he will march right through everyone at 205 lbs, including Mauricio Rua and eventually the Spider himself.