Some said he was the future while others said he was more hype that reality.
What Jon ‘Bones’ Jones proved at UFC 135 is that he is indeed the best light heavyweight in the sport, and could very well be the next great fighter alongside names like Silva and St-Pierre.
Coming into the main event fight, Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson had said he was in the best shape of his life, and had gone through best training camp of his life. Unfortunately, it still didn’t stop Jones from attacking the former Pride fighter at will.
At the opening of the bout, Jones came out almost in a spider like position, confusing everyone both in the arena and in the commentary booth. After the fight was finished, Jones said that was actually a calculated attack, but when it didn’t work right away he went back to a traditional stance.
“I was trying to shoot a really fast low single,” Jones explained about his opening move.
From that moment on, Jon Jones dominated and decimated Rampage with everything he came with throughout the fight. The New York native kept Jackson on the outside with kicks and quick movement to keep his opponent on the defensive.
It was a surgical attack for the first three rounds from Jones, who came in and attacked Rampage when he felt the timing was there, and connected with almost everything he threw. At one point during a clinch against the cage, Jones threw one of his patented spinning back elbows, and cracked Jackson flush on the jaw.
To Jackson’s credit, he continued to step forward, but outside of throwing a few haymakers he simply had no answer to Jones’ attacks.
Jones used his striking to set up everything he did throughout the bout, and while his style may seem unorthodox, everything was calculated from the word go.
“The game plan was to prove that we could strike with Quinton Jackson. He kind of insulted me saying I had no punching power, and he insulted my striking,” Jones stated. “Me and Mike Winkeljohn we got together and we really cleaned up my striking to prove a point and I think we did that.”
Heading into the championship rounds, Jones got a clear message from his coaches after the 15-minute mark that Jackson had just about enough and that he need to put him away.
“My coaches told me going into the 4th round I was starting to break him a little bit, and I wanted to finish the fight, that was the round to do it,” said Jones.
Jones did exactly that.
Another dominant round started out for the UFC’s top light heavyweight before he took Jackson to the mat, and once he was on top, it was just a matter of time before Jones put him away. Jones took Jackson’s back and immediately sunk his forearm under the chin, and pulled up on the hold.
Jackson’s exasperated face told the story as the choke was tightened, and he had to tap out, giving Jon Jones the victory.
Following the fight, Jackson made no excuses about his performance or take anything away from Jon Jones. As a matter of fact, count Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson a believer in Jon Jones.
“I’ve been in the best shape of my life, I expected to come out here and close the distance and over throw Jon Jones, but he’s great. I thought it was hype, the kid is good. I’ve got to take my hat off to him,” Jackson stated after the fight.
“This is the best I’ve ever been, Jon Jones he’s here to stay.”
As Jon Jones celebrated the win, his next opponent Rashad Evans made his way into the Octagon to answer questions from UFC commentator Joe Rogan. Evans gave Jones credit for his performance, but he’s now looking forward to his chance to face him next.
“It’s a good opportunity, I’m glad the UFC put it together, and I can’t wait to get the chance to fight,” Evans commented.
Once Jones came face to face with his former friend and teammate, there was obvious tension in the air. A chill washed over the Pepsi Center in Denver, as Jones looked over at Evans with obvious contempt knowing they will meet in the near future.
“I’m sure he’s got a lot to say, he’s going to be doing a lot of talking,” Jones said about Evans. “I’m not going to say anything, I promise you guys leading up to this fight, I’m not going to say much.
“He’s ruined my special night twice now.”
At the post fight press conference, Jones said he didn’t want to talk about Rashad Evans anymore tonight. It sounds like he’ll celebrate his win and worry about Evans once the bout agreement shows up to make their fight official.
Saturday night and the UFC light heavyweight title definitely belong to Jon Jones.