UFC 135: Jon Jones is the future of MMA. And I’m so mad.
I originally posted this at: www.pttogames.com
Let’s get this out of the way immediately. Jon Jones is an awesome fighter. It’s ridiculous how he makes some of the best fighters in the world look like they don’t know what they’re doing. I love watching him fight.
But here’s the thing, I really don’t like Jon Jones.
Yes, yes I am.
Jon Jones is a phenom. Physically, he has the length and athletic ability to excel at any sport of his choosing. If he had chosen to be an American football player, like his brothers, or a basketball player, or a sprinter, or whatever he
wanted, he would have been great at it. After a promising wrestling career, he chose to get into MMA.
After just 3 years of training martial arts, he’s a UFC world champion. His lone loss a result of being too eager, too dominant and too plain vicious in smashing Matt Hammill’s face with a 12-6 elbow. He was immediately interesting, and opened eyes already when he faced Stephan Bonnar, a fight in which he dropped Bonnar with a spinning elbow and suplexed him all over the cage.
He has that thing. You know, that thing where it feels like he’s on another level. He’s above you. That LeBron James thing. He’s so gifted, and everything seem to come so easy for him. He’s almost too good. There’s not really a lot of
exciting fights for him at this point, because he’s so dominant. If anything, I think he should move up to heavyweight, where someone like Dos Santos or Velasquez could test him.
In any case, in January, after absolutely dominating Ryan Bader in what people thought would be his first real test, he was offered a title shot against Shogun Rua after Rashad Evans had to drop out due to a knee injury.
Jones angered fans with a cocky and dismissive attitude. Signing autographs with the words “Champion 2011” before the fight had taken place.
I bet on Shogun for that fight. Shogun was coming off yet another knee surgery, but he had previously looked to be an equally vicious but smarter fighter than he was in Pride when he took the title and inflicted the first loss of Lyoto Machida’s career. What followed was one of the worst beatings I’ve ever seen. I may be biased because I am an unapologetic PRIDE mark, and Shogun was the man, but I don’t think I’ve ever been as shocked and upset during a fight as I was during the Shogun-Jones fight.
Stop! He’s already dead! He’s already dead! *sobs*
In the time before and after the Shogun fight, we had the drama between Jones and his former friend and team-mate at Team Jackson, Rashad Evans. Jones took Rashad’s place in the title shot against Shogun, and betrayed a longstanding unwritten rule in team Jackson, that you do not fight your team-mates. Rashad made a big deal about it, and left the Jackson camp to make it on his own. Jones on the other hand, started getting a bit of a reputation as a fake and slimy
He followed this up with douchebag stuff like refusing to sign fans’ replica belts because they’re fake, and he worked too hard for his belt. It was insulting to him to have people asking him to sign replicas.
This reputation was not at all helped after Jones essentially denied Rashad a title shot by dropping out of their planned fight because of a hand injury that he said required surgery, and then changing his story once Rashad was committed
to another fight. Suddenly he was fine, no surgery needed, and he was looking for a new opponent. This is around the time I started thinking “Hey, what’s up with this guy? That’s not cool”.
Rashad came back from injury looking better than ever. He absolutely destroyed Tito Ortiz, and settled an old grudge from their draw a few years ago. It really seems like Jon Jones is creating a beast in Rashad Evans. I’ve never seen Rashad look that driven and determined.
Jones on the other hand, got matched up with Quinton Rampage Jackson. Another one of the old PRIDE fighters. Another one of my favourite fighters. They did a lot of PR leading up to this fight. Conference calls, press conferences, talk
shows, Jimmy Kimmel. Rampage was killing Jones the whole time with his trademark wit. Jones on the other hand, always seems a little bit off. There’s something very unnatural about him, like you’re watching an actor who just can’t quite sell you on his character.
Rampage was on his game now, after beating Lyoto Machida by decision, and finally getting the opportunity to get his belt back after losing it to Forrest Griffin in 2007. I haven’t seen Rampage look as good as he did in this fight since back in PRIDE. He was lean and determined. I was sold. WAR RAMPAGE! Rampage was going deal with this kid and put him back in his place for sure.
Again, what followed was a dominant performance by Jones. He didn’t run straight through Rampage like he had his previous opponents. Rampage shrugged off a lot of takedown attempts, and managed to get up when Jones got him down, even getting out of a full mount at one point. But that was pretty much it for bright spots in Rampage’s night.
This again? Oh come on! >_<
Jones controlled him in all aspects of the fight, and used his reach and diverse and unpredictable attacks to keep Rampage on his heels. Jones fought a very smart fight, he avoided Rampage’s power by either being all the way out, or all the way in. Meaning he was either picking at Rampage from outside Rampage’s reach with long punches and kicks, or getting close and clinching whenever Rampage got past Jones’ long attacks. He almost entirely took the mid-range away in the fight, never letting Rampage get into the pocket and throw his powerful hooks.
By the end, Rampage looked lost and desperate. And the finishing rear naked choke seemed a lot like Rampage gave up, realizing he didn’t have anything left, and gave Jones his back, just so it would be over.
Another dominant performance. Another PRIDE warrior vanquished. Another one of my heroes left broken on the floor of the ever unforgiving cage.
All hail Jon Jones, the present and the future of the UFC light heavyweight division.
And I’m so salty. My sodium levels are through the roof. Rashad, you gotta do this for me man. Take this kid out!