Well, so much for rooting against Jon Jones! On Saturday in Denver at the UFC 135, Jones dominated Quinton Jackson from start to finish, and he ended the fight early in the 4th round with a rear naked choke. Jones became the first fighter to finish ‘Rampage’, another feather in the young man’s cap.
My rooting against him was not because I didn’t think he was good. It was more based on the ridiculous hype among MMA mainstream media for a kid who is still really at the start of his MMA career. They had the kid walking across the water of a swimming pool at the Mandalay Bay! But after last night’s performance, I’m a little more convinced he is the real deal.
Last night was a dominating performance. Jones is unorthodox, to sum it up in one word. He mixes his striking up very well, he is a rugged wrestler and even showed he was willing to fight from his back.
I think it was at the end of round two when Jones pulled guard and almost instantly had Jackson in a triangle. Oddly, this may have been Jackson’s best shot at the fight! Remember his famous KO slam of Ricardo Arona in Pride? But time ran out. Aside from that, Jackson was just reduced to ineffective, winging punches and a lot of frustration.
I’m comfortable moving Jones high into the upper echelon of fighters now, but I am going to repeat one thing. Now he has to do it again.
Rashad Evans is next, and Evans is a good fighter, but I’m not sure he has the right body type or skills to deal with Jones. He is more explosive than Quinton, but also has less reach. Jones is a bad matchup for him.
There are a few matches right after that which are intriguing and may test Jon Jones. After all, that is the next question to answer for Jones. Yes he has been dominant, but how do you answer adversity and a real test in a fight? That is what I want to see, I want to see him fight back after being hurt.
One guy is Lyoto Machida. He was in a similar spot to Jones a while back, being the UFC Golden Boy at 205 lbs, but lost a couple and the luster came off his star. But he is extremely dangerous, and his height will take a little away from Jones’ physical advantages. Machida is also known for coming in with a game plan, and for being very unorthodox, so I see it as a solid test.
My second match is the superfight. We have seen 185 lb champion Anderson Silva go up a weight class and still be dominant. Silva is considered the top fighter in the world, and is nearing the end of his career. If Jones could defeat him, it would certainly be a symbolic passing of the torch.
So yes I was rooting for ‘Rampage’ this past week, but Jones certainly added another stripe to his accolades. Now he has to do it again.