What’s Next for Jon Jones? Suga. NOT!
UPDATE: Rashad Evans has had to pull out of the fight with Jones due to injury, so the UFC has replaced him with Lyoto Machida. Damn.
OK, well… that happened.
Jon “Bones” Jones tapped out Rampage Jackson with a rear naked choke. Kinda surprising, but not entirely.
While Jones is known for his explosive, unpredictable striking, it’s his long limbs that give him a big advantage on the ground… In fact, Jones has submitted half as many opponents as he’s knocked out/TKO’d. Which is still a relatively impressive number. The man is no slouch on the mat.
I was at the BAMMA-sponsored ALFA fight night at the OC Int’l. Auto Show* while they were fighting (I love Tivo!) and before I knew the result, I was asked by a guy seated next to me what I thought would happen. I told him my theory about Jones breaking a bone on Rampage’s battle-hardened skeleton (as of this writing, they haven’t released the medical info… while I certainly wish broken bones on no one, I’m still sticking with my theory until I hear otherwise! :-), I said “Jones will submit him.”
I can’t say exactly why I said that, and I don’t mention it here to bolster my profile, but it just struck me, and I said it. Later, while I was posting on Twitter about the ALFA fights, I saw a tweet about the Jones/Rampage fight and was kinda surprised that this bolt of inspiration had been right. Kinda.
So where do we go from here? We know this much: Jones is slated to fight Rashad Evans next. Assuming Jones doesn’t get injured in training and Rashad heals up nicely, this fight will happen this time. Remember, it was supposed to be Rashad and Bones fighting before, but injuries forced that to be put aside, and Rashad has had a rollercoaster in the meantime: Going from training for Phil Davis to stopping a resurgent Tito Ortiz. The man has had his sights on Jones the whole time and has to be itchin’ to get healed up and into a training camp.
We know Rashad can talk. He can sell a fight. But I don’t know how much more can be said about Jon Jones in this match-up. Rashad was all over the airwaves during the run-up to Jones/Jackson talking smack about his previous trainer Greg Jackson and how he behaves when two of his fighters are set-up to fight each other. I don’t know a better way to handle it, though, than how Jackson has, with the possible exception of not allowing fighters to face each other, which assumes that the Greg Jackson camp has more power than Zuffa or whichever organization is making the fights. Not to mention the fighters themselves, who’ve got to make that money.
Of course, given how sensationally Jones has dealt with his opponents, there’s talk of a Jon Jones/Anderson Silva superfight. But that doesn’t seem realistic to me. While Silva has fought at a higher weight class than he is now, I don’t see him jumping up in weight and fighting Jones. He’s not as young as he was when he fought then, and he doesn’t have that many fights left in him, if he wants to remain as dominant as he has been. Jones being so tall, it would seem unlikely that he would cut down to Silva’s weight. He wouldn’t be able to fight as dominantly as he is now.
Some things are better left to videogames… In the meantime, Jones has to get through Evans, who may be a bit quicker than Jones, if less dynamic… Evans is not one to be slept on.
*more on the ALFA fights at the OC Int’l. Auto Show soon.