UFC Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones made his first title defense this past weekend at UFC 135 in Denver, Colorado, and his performance has the top dogs of the media world gushing and validating the young phenom.
The undisputed champion of MMA media, Ariel Helwani, held his second media roundtable this afternoon on his show, The MMA Hour, on MMAFighting.com. Helwani has been doing his thing for a long time in the mixed martial arts world, and his show just celebrated its 100th episode last week.
The Jon Jones and Quinton Jackson title fight was the first topic on the agenda and attention quickly focused on Jones and his meteoric rise to the top of the mountain in mixed martial arts. His performance against Jackson, although not perfect, legitimized the new champion in the eyes of many who were reluctant to get on the hype train prior to Saturday night.
After listening the roundtable this afternoon, it is clear that many have been turned to believers. People are talking about the champion today, and here are some comments from some of the top MMA writers.
On the dominance of Jon Jones
"I knew Jones would be what he has become the first time I saw him in the cage."
"The man to beat Jon Jones is not in the UFC right now. He is a young guy coming up now."
"Malki Kawa is gonna hate me and Jon Jones is gonna hate me but I was one of these guys that picked Rampage in this fight only because I did not think he had truly been tested and I thought Rampage would definitely do that."
"I will never doubt Jon Jones again."
"I covered the smaller New York shows so, I was following the early Jon Jones so I am a firm believer that it will take kryptonite to beat him."
"It's the reach and athleticism and the fact that you cannot get to him."
On why Jones seems to have some haters out there for being fake?
"I don't think he is fake, I just think that people expect a certain learning curve and Jones has risen without following that blue print or time line. People don't like that. There could be a resentment there."
"Of course he has paid his dues, and worked for it, but in the public's view maybe he hasn't."
"I still see him all the time at the small shows as he supports other fighters. He's a nice guy. To me, I see him deal with fans. He truly is a nice guy he handles the spotlight well."
"When people make it big people kinda want to hear, "I'm the man" and not, "praise God."
"His family keeps him humble. He is not fake. If he gets too cocky, his brothers will get him in line."
I met and interviewed Jones a few months ago, and he was truly great to talk to and deal with. He had the kids and his fans all around and was talking to all of them. I got to talk to the man in a very relaxed setting.
When I asked him what he thinks of the heat he takes from fans for being cocky and arrogant. His response gave a look at the two necessary sides in this game:
"It doesn't bother me, I know that people are commenting on a persona, or a character that may not really be me. They don't know me as a person or what I believe, they only know the persona of Jon Jones so it doesn't bother me."
Dwight Wakabayashi is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA and (also a Correspondent for MMACanada.net)