The word “Era” is tossed around pretty generously within the UFC… The Forrest Griffin ‘era’, Rashad Evans ‘era’, Lyoto Machida ‘era’, Shogun Rua ‘era’. After studying countless fights for this sport in a decade, I can tell you, we are in the Jon Jones era.
Jon Jones is 23 years old. 3 years in the fight game, and he is the best in the world in his weight division, bar none, no exceptions, no argument. For three rounds, Jon Jones completely brutalized one of the best fighters in the history of the sport in Shogun Rua. Not only did he dominate the duration of the bout, but he did it in his own flashy way. Nailing his trademark spinning attacks on multiple occasions.
Jones stifled Rua in every aspect of the sport. Handled him on the feet, worked submission attempts, escaped Shogun’s attempts even! While on the ground Jones used his long reach and boney elbows to his advantage and punished his opponent. Takedowns, Muay thai clinch work, kicks. Jon Jones is just the superior figher.
Is Jon Jones unbeatable? No. Not in this sport, no one is. However at age 23, I don’t look for this man to be knocked off of his perch for years. Chuck Liddell was the last Light Heavyweight Champion to defend his title successfully more than once. Many could make the argument that the retired Liddell remains the most recognizable face that the sport has. It became very evident this evening that Jones would soon be taking that crown.
This guy is LeBron James, Sidney Crosby, Albert Pujols. The new, young, dominating face of the sport. Humble, yet confident. Skilled, and still learning. It’s scary how much knowledge he’s absorbed to work so fluently with his god-given abilities. On top of that, fans love to watch his flashy, exciting style. He’s a promoters dream, and he isn’t going anywhere folks. But that’s been said about Anderson Silva as well….and Mister Lorenzo Fertita, co-owner of the UFC tweeted late saturday/sunday morning “Silva vs Jones, who wants it?”
Elsewhere on the card, PRIDE and UFC legend Mirko Crocop saw his UFC career come to an unfortunate end due to a knockout loss to Brendan Schaub. Crocop was likely ahead on the judges scorecards entering the third round, due to Schaub being deducted a point for striking the back of the head. This is a tough break for CroCop, as he looked much more comfortable in the cage, throwing his signature head kicks, keeping his hands up, and pressing forward. It was a very even fight until the prospect Schaub landed a huge right hand that buckled CroCop. I look for Schaub to get more top level competition after his impressive finish, while Dana White stated Mirko is done with the UFC.
Former WEC poster boy Urijah Faber made his long awaited UFC debut in victorious fashion over heavy handed Eddie Wineland, and Jim Miller got his seventh consecutive win over Kamal Shalorus. Miller is 15-1 in his last 16 fights, and is very close to receiving a title shot, most likely when the Maynard/Pettis/Edgar/Guida situation clears off. He’ll need to reel off another victory or two, which honestly, he shouldn’t need given his resume. Dana White has made it very clear that if Anthony Pettis wins his upcoming bout with Clay Guida, he will be receiving a title shot.
Nate Marquardt also bounced back with a victory, redeeming himself, and keeping relevant in the very very thin 185 pound division. With the purchase of Strikeforce, I have high hopes that this division will be reinvigorated, but as of now things are looking very bleak for the post-Anderson Silva 185 pound division. You have your bright spots….Tyron Woodley, Yushin Okami, personal favorite Gerald Harris, but there’s really not too much depth at the top of the rankings. Dan Henderson is aging (despite impressive performances), Chael Sonnen’s cheating, and where is Wanderlei Silva?
Hopefully all these questions will soon be answered, but answering questions hasn’t been one of the UFC’s strong spots since parent company Zuffa bought out the competition, San Jose based Strikeforce. All that we were told is the two entities would run “business as usual”. I’ll hopefully be posting a video blog for 1wrestling this week to explore the intricacies of this deal.
Until then… check out the SPORT OF THE FUTURE!!!
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