Jon Jones is the new Lyoto Machida of MMA.
If you look back to May 2009, Machida was completely unbeatable. The Brazilian had dominated Rashad Evans and knocked him out to take his belt. Mixed martial arts analysts were desperate to find a challenger for The Dragon.
He was a puzzle they said. He was someone who simply couldn't be figured out.
Now that didn't last long, did it?
The same kind of discussions have gone on ever since Jones won the title Saturday night. People are already comparing him to heavyweights and trying to determine how he would do against the giants of the UFC.
Those people are getting ahead of themselves. Jones has yet to even defend his title at 205 and you already want to match him up against Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos?
Besides, there's a certain guy at 185 that would give Jones fits.
Anderson Silva is arguably the best fighter to ever compete for a reason. His striking and Jiu-Jitsu are ridiculously skilled. His chin is legendary. His footwork, elusiveness and downright movement are that of Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee.
Would Silva beat Jones?
That's a tough call, but he could certainly make it interesting.
To start, Anderson Silva is 10 times the striker Mauricio Rua ever was.
Take a deep breath. I know that's a loaded statement, but it's entirely true. Rua has excellent muay thai kicks and ferocious power, but that's about it.
His punching technique has generally consisted of him walking forward and swinging. His legendary chin allowed him to absorb the shots he took while he came forward winging haymakers. When he connected, it was devastating. There is no doubt about that. But that doesn't compare to Silva.
Anderson Silva has some of the best striking in all of mixed martial arts. His timing, head movement and quickness are impeccable. His display of striking against Rich Franklin, Forrest Griffin and Vitor Belfort was a thing of beauty.
Now I know everyone probably is thinking, "What does that matter? Silva is going to end up on his back in two seconds anyway."
Well, probably, but Silva has much better Jiu-Jitsu than Rua, as well.
If you look back at Rua's history of fights, his Jiu-Jitsu has mainly consisted of sweeps back to his feet and leg locks. Rua has never been a guy to look for triangle chokes. Rua has never been a guy with some deadly guard.
Silva has shown that he is a threat in the guard. He has completed submissions off of his back. It's true he isn't Demian Maia or Ronaldo Souza, but he is better than Rua.
The Spider can bide his time and avoid getting hit until he can get back to his feet.
And don't give me this nonsense about the Chael Sonnen fight.
Everyone has confirmed that Silva had a rib injury going into a fight. That will affect every single facet of mixed martial arts. His wrestling was below average that fight. His striking was lacking. His Jiu-Jitsu was worse off. An 100 percent healthy Silva gives Sonnen a totally different fight.
So once again, I'm not saying Silva would beat Jones. But he would definitely make it close.
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