Jon “Bones” Jones: Champion with All the Potential in the World
Jon “Bones” Jones made his UFC debut in August 2008 in a non-televised bout at UFC 87. Jones took the fight on 2 weeks notice as a late replacement. Jones just turned 21 years old as he made his UFC debut. He looked promising from his first UFC fight. Coming into that first fight as a huge underdog, he was impressive with good takedowns and displaying unorthodox striking, like spinning elbows and spinning back kicks. Jones won his first UFC fight by unanimous decision.
Jones continued to progress taking on Stephan Bonnar at UFC 94. Jones came out to this fight virtually an unknown to most UFC fans. He was really impressive against Bonnar again using his unique techniques as shown in his previous fight, but this time he added some great throws including a suplex that made UFC matchmaker Joe Silva jump out of his seat. Jones again won by unanimous decision.
Jones continued his winning streak in the UFC light heavyweight division by submitting Jake O’Brien and with TKO victories over Brandon Vera and Vladimir Matyshenko. After his victory against O’Brien he did technically get a loss on his record due to a disqualification for an illegal elbow shot against Matt Hamill. During that fight Jones dominated Matt Hamill and while he had Hamill on the ground throwing strikes he used an illegal downward elbow shot which caused the referee to step in and issue a disqualification victory for Hamill. Jones dominated that fight, so no matter whose arm was raised Jones was the man in that fight.
Now comes 2011 which can end up being his most impressive year to date. Jones biggest test of his career was next facing Ryan Bader in early 2011 who was an undefeated Ultimate Fighter reality show winner. Jones dominated Bader like he dominated all of his past opponents and took an easy submission victory. At the conclusion of the fight, while being interviewed by Joe Rogan, Jones was granted a title shot against Mauricio Shogun Rua replacing teammate at the time Rashad Evans who got injured. Jones dropped to his knees and was very excited to except the fight. Taking the fight against Rua had its risks, since it was only 6 weeks away from his last fight.
Rua and Jones were now scheduled to fight for the light heavyweight title at UFC 128. Rua who was coming off knee surgery was notorious for having problems with his first fight back from surgery, so that favored Jones a bit. Jones came into this fight like any Jones fight and dominated Shogun which big punches, kicks, knees and then finally in round 3 won via TKO. Shogun has never been dominated in that fashion in his entire career. Jones took the title, but there were still a lot of questions in some people’s eyes since they say Rua just came off of knee surgery, etc.
After a little break 6 months later Jones defended his title against Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at UFC 135. Rampage was reported to be in the best shape of his career. He trained hard and was ready for Jones. Rampage is extremely dangerous when he is motivated and he was motivated for this fight. Jones did to Rampage like he did to everyone else prior. He took Rampage out of his game and dominated him from beginning to end. Jones submitted Rampage in the 4th round by a rear naked choke.
Now the final chapter of 2011 comes on December 10th when Jones defends his title against Lyoto Machida at UFC 140. If Jones defeats Machida this can potentially be the best year for any UFC fighter in its short history. This is Jones 4th fight this year and he has dominated every single one of his opponents from beginning to end. I haven’t seen someone this talented, only 24 years old and still improving. He hasn’t even reached his prime yet.
I still remember when a friend of mine, MMA couch analysis Gil first saw Jones fight Bonnar he said that this guy will be the champion really soon and sure enough here we are today. He has made me a fan not just because he wins, but the way he wins. He goes out there and fights. He is unpredictable, smart and a quick learner. He is something new and fresh to the UFC. The UFC has a bright star in Jones for a long time to come assuming he continues to do the right thing.
There are 2 paths that Jones can take. He can remain humble and continue to learn and improve his game or he can let all the hype get to his head, become arrogant and not train like he should be. If he goes the right thing, Jones will be the light heavyweight champion for a long time. If Jones does get passed Machida, there is a list of people waiting for him, specifically former teammate Rashad Evans. Evans may be the man who has the biggest of advantage of defeating Jones since they trained together briefly. Also waiting in the wings is also Dan Henderson. If this year ends with a bang for Jones, 2012 can even be bigger for him. Should be interesting to see what happens.
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