by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
He was tagged as the future of the light heavyweight division before the main event at UFC on Versus Sunday night even started. After Jon Jones blasted through Brandon Vera with a first round stoppage, the future just turned to the present, as he picked up one of the biggest wins of his young career.
Bouncing back from a tough disqualification in his last fight, Jones came out quick in his fight against Vera, landing an early takedown on the California fighter, putting him on his back and opening up a ground attack.
Jones made his takedowns look almost effortless against a very strong wrestler in Vera, who could only try to battle his way back up from the bottom. During one exchange on the ground, Vera threw a vicious upkick with Jones’ knees still on the mat, and referee Herb Dean stopped the action and deducted a point for the illegal strike.
Back on the ground after Jones said he was okay to continue, the New York native continued his mugging of Brandon Vera, and when he connected with an elbow to his opponent’s head it sounded like the crack of Alex Rodriguez’s bat slamming a homerun.
Immediately, Vera turned in obvious pain after the elbow crushed down on him, and Jones followed up with a few more strikes as Herb Dean swooped in for the save. After the fight, Jones credited his intense preparation for Brandon Vera that allowed him to have such a strong performance.
“I almost felt as if I knew him before I stepped in here with him,” said Jones. “It was just hard work, a lot of dedication, I knew he’d be a step up in competition, and I trained to the point where I felt as if I won it before I got in here.”
Hype is just hype until potential is realized, but there doesn’t seem to be many questions left unanswered about what Jon Jones brings to the light heavyweight division, and any top ten fighter in front of him may want to watch this fight as an example.
“I try not to pay attention to the hype, but I do recognize it’s that it’s there,” Jones said. “I guess the only thing it does is try to live up to the potential I can live up to, I think potential is the biggest thing to waste, it’s the worst thing to waste, and I’ll make sure that doesn’t happen.”