Jon Jones is a marvelous physical specimen. His athleticism is outstanding, his strength is nearly unmatched in the light heavyweight division, and his potential is through the roof.
At a mere 23-years-old, the young “Bones” Jones has quickly become a fan favorite in the sport of mixed martial arts. Going into UFC 126, Jones and his opponent, Ryan Bader, were prospects on the verge of shooting into the limelight. Jones’ dominance of “The Ultimate Fighter Season Eight” winner showed that he is indeed ready for top tier talent at 205 pounds.
There is still a number of years ahead of Jones before he is anywhere close to calling it a career, which makes for a lot of room for growth as a fighter. His arsenal, perhaps, provides a glimpse of someone that will go down as one of the greatest ever to compete in this sport. According to UFC president Dana White, Jones could possibly be headed towards that stature.
“I think this kid has all the tools to be maybe the best ever someday,” White said following the post fight press conference.
If anyone is to question Jones’ ability to be the best, it will be current light heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Since Rashad Evans sustained a recent knee injury, the door is now open for Jones to contend Rua in Evans’ place on March 19 at UFC 128.
The UFC president talked about the interest sparked from a title fight between Rua and Jones.
“The question’s going to be against a guy like Shogun,” he said. “Shogun comes in and comes forward and just busts you up. He does things to you that other people can’t do to you. You saw it in that second (Lyoto) Machida fight, how he just goes to the leg and he hits you to the body, and he does a lot of damage. So it’s going to be interesting to see how Jones deals with the striking.”
Jones is still very young in the game of MMA. Perhaps it is too early to consider him as a “greatest of all-time” candidate, but it will be interesting to see how Jones performs against Rua and all the other current contenders in the light heavyweight division. After seeing him perform at UFC 126, it is clear that he will be impossible to underestimate for years to come.
Rua, after all his accomplishments in Pride and the UFC, has solidified himself as the top 205-pounder in the world. His destruction of Lyoto Machida at UFC 113 is clear evidence of that. But Rua has never faced an opponent quite like Jones and will likely never see someone like him again. After all, Jones is a physical anomaly with speed and agility rarely seen in an athlete his size.
Attributes like this will make UFC 128’s main event all the more appealing. If he gets by Rua and continues to perform as dominant as he has been, Jones could very well be headed towards that “best ever” status.