Last night’s UFC told us more about UFC Lightheavyweight Champion Jon Jones than most of his other UFC fights combined. Jones finished off Vitor Belfort in the fourth round of a fight that had Belfort close to a 15 to 1 underdog, so the result should not be a surprise to people, but Jones deserves credit for showing considerable mettle in the fight, something he has not been forced to do yet in his UFC run. Belfort too, as his long fighting career has very few submissions in it, and he almost managed to pull one off early.
Jones was dealing with more scrutiny and mental pressure than probably any UFC champion ever has, as his refusal to accept a short notice opponent was blamed for scrapping UFC 151. From Dana White on down, Jones was pretty uniformly hated.
Then he walks into the fight, and Belfort is looking for an early kill, and he survives. He is forced to fight with a weakened arm the rest of the way, though some of that may be hype. He got the finish against Belfort in the 4th with a move that required strength and he took it to Vitor throughout the fight with both arms.
So what will the UFC do with Jones next? The arm is a good excuse to give him a long rest, and the MAchida-Henderson winner will likely be the next fighter to get a shot at Jones.
Here is what Jones should do, however. He should fight Chael Sonnen on one of the December cards. He has talked about unfinished business against Dan Henderson, and he is right, that match should happen. But if he feels he left unfinished business against Henderson, he must realize it was the Sonnen mess that left him looking really bad.
If Jones needs a layoff, then he can rest. If not the UFC should dismantle the nearly useless Forrest Griffin-Chael Sonnen match they have scheduled and put Chael in with Jones. Let’s say Forrset wins that fight, it isnt like Forrest will be ready and motivated for a title shot.
In order to redeem himself, Jones is going to need to run the Sonnen-Machida-Henderson-Rua table – which he is capable of doing. But unless Jones sits out to rehab his arm, he really needs to step up and not listen to Greg Jackson.