Jon Jones vs. Rampage Jackson: Why Jon Jones Is Not Just Hype

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Jon Jones vs. Rampage Jackson: Why Jon Jones Is Not Just Hype
Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC

There has been a lot of hype surrounding Jon Jones ever since his first main-card bout in the UFC against Stephan Bonnar. At UFC 94, Bonnar was taking on a 21-year-old kid in just his eighth professional fight.

Over the course of 15 minutes, it was easy to see that "The American Psycho" was completely outclassed by Jones. "Bones" manhandled Bonnar, suplexing him, hitting him with unorthodox strikes and even knocking him down with a spinning elbow.

Ever since then, people had been predicting Jones to be the "next big thing" in mixed martial arts. He submitted Jake O'Brien at UFC 100 and then was set to take on Matt Hamill.

Despite the loss due to disqualification, Jones easily battered Hamill, bloodying him up before the bout was stopped.

The loss didn't hinder Jones' growth, as he went on to face Brandon Vera, breaking his orbital bone with an elbow and finishing "The Truth" in the first round, winning Knockout of the Night honors.

His next bout with Vladimir Matyushenko is a similar story. "The Janitor" was put on his back and finished in the first round via Jones' elbow strikes.

Ryan Bader was next in line for Jones. Jones controlled the pace in the first round, proving to be the superior wrestler before putting Bader on his back in the second round, submitting him with a guillotine choke and taking home another bonus for Submission of the Night.

With Rashad Evans getting injured, Jones was next in line to face Mauricio "Shogun" Rua. Jones' critics claimed that Jones had never been tested by a fighter of Rua's level. Jones utilized his superior reach and wrestling ability to beat up the UFC light heavyweight champion on the feet and on the ground before finishing him in the third round. Jones looked untouchable.

Despite running through every opponent thrown his way, critics still claimed that Jones had never been hit and that "Rampage" Jackson would finally be the one to test his chin.

Unfortunately for "Rampage," he never really had much of a chance. "Bones" kept Jackson at bay with his long legs and 84.5-inch reach. Whenever a clinch ensued, "Rampage" was never able to land much, getting out-struck 61 to 16 in significant strikes over the course of the bout according to FightMetric.

While "Rampage" has great boxing, Jones showed that he is the much more complete fighter, picking apart the veteran with unpredictable strikes and making him afraid of throwing leg kicks by threatening with takedowns. When Jones was able to get the fight to the ground, he held a distinct grappling advantage, easily advancing position and mounting Jackson.

Jones has lived up to the hype at this point and his talent can't be denied. He has simply outclassed every opponent he's ever faced and has finished all but two of his opponents. To beat the best of a division, like Georges St. Pierre has done, is impressive enough, but to effortlessly finish them is entirely different.

Watching Jones fight, he appears as though he can end the bout whenever he pleases. He keeps completely calm, showing excellent conditioning, patiently waiting for his opportunity to finish the fight. He manages to fight in an intelligent way by not overexposing himself or being reckless, but is so talented that he still finds ways to stop his opponents.

With the run Jon Jones has had, coupled with his ability to keep improving consistently, there's no reason to believe that he can't be the best light heavyweight in mixed martial arts history. A fighter cannot be as dominant as Jones in 15 straight fights without being extremely talented. Claiming that he is "all hype" may have made sense at one point, but those days are long gone.

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