With every overwhelming demolition of a man put in front of him, UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones pushes himself further up the ladder in the talk for pound-for-pound greatness.
His most recent performance, a crushing win over Lyoto Machida in the UFC 140 main event, may well have given him the requisite fuel to challenge Anderson Silva for the crown. Fuel that includes the following.
Realistically, Lyoto Machida came the closest to giving the champion problems, and those problems lasted no more than one round. Jones calculated what he needed to do to overtake the challenger, did it, and then violently choked him unconscious at the first opportunity.
If that’s what happened to a man who did better than anyone else has against Jones, what does that say of those who looked worse?
He’s rarely touched in his fights, rarely ruffled and looks to be getting better. Those facts make him pretty hard to ignore at the top of the pound-for-pound list.
Since he really started to take off, Jon Jones has smashed everyone the UFC put in front of him. For what it’s worth, the judges could go to the bathroom or grab a beer when he fights, because they’re not likely to be needed.
After starting out in the UFC with decision wins over Andre Gusmao and Stephan Bonnar, his victories have been, in order of submission: TKO, TKO, submission, TKO, submission, submission.
That’s an incredible run, and when you look at how Anderson Silva’s killer instinct has influenced his rise to the top of pound-for-pound lists, you have to give Jones the same recognition.
Every time you see him, Jon Jones gets better. His awkward standup is getting more crisp, his substantial wrestling chops are sharpening and he’s starting to finish fights by submission.
When you think of how hard it has been for anyone to even come close to challenging him in the Octagon, it’s insane to consider how good he is before he’s reached his prime. He’s destroying all-time greats with ease, and he might be as much as five years away from being the best he’ll ever be.
If that doesn’t make him among the best pound-for-pound fighters out there, it will have him at the top of the list by 2015 for sure.
When was the last time you saw a man with a wrestling background throwing spinning kicks and back-elbows? If you answered with anything other than “probably never,” you’re outright lying.
As Joe Rogan so vehemently pointed out on the UFC 140 broadcast, what Jones is showing is the evolution of the mixed martial artist. Yes, he can wrestle' but his striking is formidable and his submission game is becoming frightening. He’s putting the “mixed” in “mixed martial artist.”
Other pound-for-pound greats like Anderson Silva or Georges St-Pierre don’t offer Jones’ diversity. Silva can’t wrestle and GSP has trouble finishing opponents. Jones has neither problem, and it makes one wonder if he’s not the best in the world as a result.
In the pound-for-pound debate, ability to bounce around in weight definitely helps a man’s cause. Anderson Silva has been all over the map, and people love him for it. Georges St-Pierre hasn’t, and people wonder if and when he will.
In Jones, you have a massive human being who could, and probably will, fight at heavyweight. When that time comes, one can only assume he’ll be fairly successful on account of the unique set of skills he has at his disposal and the fact that, at 24 years old, he’s already among the best in the sport.
If you look at the definition of"pound-for-pound" a man who can do it across several divisions deserves consideration ahead of one who can’t. Jones fits that bill, and is at the top of the list as a result.