As Jon Jones released an unconscious Lyoto Machida from a guillotine choke and walked away at UFC 140, it was clear that fans had just witnessed one of the most dominant years in the history of the sport. In 2011, Jon "Bones" Jones went from highly-touted prospect to champion, defeating Ryan Bader, "Shogun" Rua, "Rampage" Jackson and Lyoto Machida.
We are pretty clearly in the Jon Jones era right now, and the scariest part is that he is just 24 years old. No man, not even Anderson Silva, has ever accomplished so much in such a short period of time. Jones had his first professional fight on April 12, 2008 and less than three years later, held the UFC light heavyweight championship.
Jones is already being talked about along the lines of an Anderson Silva or Georges St-Pierre, and with good reason—it's difficult to imagine him losing at this point. It's unfortunate that Jones has the one disqualification loss on his record, making him 15-1, when it's obvious that no fighter has ever come close to defeating him.
Lyoto Machida did his part last night, coming in with a good game plan that allowed him to win the first round. He was elusive and quick, moving in and out and landing several good shots. It gave Jones the opportunity to answer the last question many of his critics had: could he take a punch?
Jones weathered a somewhat shaky first round-and-a-half before landing a huge takedown that was the turning point of the fight. The champion opened up a cut on the forehead of Machida and, after getting back to the feet, dropped him with a left hand. As Machida attempted to get back up, Jones sunk in the choke, pinned him up against the cage, and put him to sleep.
While there are still some interesting title challengers for Jones such, as Dan Henderson and Rashad Evans, none are as well-rounded as the champion. Evans, for example, has never attempted a submission in the UFC. It wouldn't be much of a surprise to anyone to see Jones retain his title for years to come.