The Jon Jones Era begins with a third-round TKO victory of Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. By capturing the belt against a distinguished veteran light heavyweight who is also in his prime, Jones has, without a doubt, arrived.
In three rounds, Jones beat up and beat down a phenomenally well-rounded striker in Rua. He won the day on the feet and he won the day on the ground. There is no round that any self-respecting judge, cage-side spectator or living room-bound fan could give to Rua without admitting that the only reason they slighted Jones was because they had skin in the game they were afraid of losing.
Shogun was the best the UFC could put in front of him and he walked through the task. That, my friends, is nothing to sneeze at. He even delivered a spinning back elbow in the second round just to “keep it funky.” This kid is for real.
Jones exploded onto the scene with highlight reel-performances against other “wanna-be”contenders. MMA fans who witnessed his combination of finesse, aggression, wrestling and striking in his first few bouts against the likes of Stephan Bonnar, Jake O'Brien, Matt Hamill and Brandon Vera, were not surprised at all that he dispatched Ryan Bader. Although many were surprised that he dismissed Bader with such relative ease.
The loss against Hamill is the only loss on his record and that was disqualification. Jones was destroying Hamill and practically pleading with the referee to stop the fight as he sat atop a very skilled and powerful wrestler and reluctantly continued to rain elbows down on him. The vertical strikes that eventually broke Hamill's face were ugly to see and more a result of a mental lapse than any intent to maim his opponent intentionally.
Aside from that loss, Jones has been judo-tossing everybody in his way and anyone who tries to avoid a spinning back elbow ends up on their back wondering how they can get out of the fight while still conscious and somewhat respected by the crowd.
Most fighters seem to know early in his fight that they are not likely to leave the ring looking nearly as handsome as the were when they walked in. Jones wins most of his fights convincingly. The same way he turned Rua aside.
ones is a very special fighter. To date, the closest the UFC has seen to his flash and versatility is Anderson Silva. Even still, the comparisons are lacking because Silva has not demonstrated in the UFC that he can be a dominant wrestler, as well as dominant striker.
Silva, of course, has shown that he can submit anyone and will make his opponent pay dearly for a minor mistake in either offensive positioning or defense.
“Suga” Rashad Evans is the next opponent Jones will face, although many fans would be excited to tune in for an “Spider” vs. “Bones” card, this is the appropriate fight. Jones received his opportunity to fight Rua, because of the injury to Evans.
The UFC is right to place Evans and Jones in the ring together to assuage concerns that Jones was moved to the championship to quickly and also to allow Jones to prove himself against another championship-caliber fighter in his natural weight class.
This fight should be anything but a cakewalk, if any other fighter in the UFC knows what Jones is capable of, it is Evans. They have trained together for some time and, without a doubt, are aware of the each other's strengths and weaknesses.
Jones has to be favored in this fight because of his versatility and the fact that wrestlers have not posed any difficulty for him this far.
Truth be told, no one has been difficult for Jones since he entered the UFC and started working his way up the ladder. That fact is: What makes Jones so scary would lead many to believe that he can hold this title for a long time.