Jon Bones Jones has long been considered an elite prospect in the light heavyweight division, and the 23-year-old did not disappoint his legion of fans Saturday at UFC 126. Jones choked out Ryan Bader in the second round of their match with what appeared to be a guillotine choke. It was immediately after the fight that he received the most shocking news of all: because of an injury to Rashad Evans, Jones would have a shot at the title against Shogun Rua.
Though the announcement was surprising, both because we were unaware Evans would be unable to fight, and also because we did not expect to see Jones receive a shot at the title so quickly, there is little doubt that Jonny is ready.
Bones has ripped through the light heavyweight division, ending four of his last five UFC fights within the first two rounds. He’s 12-1 and only two of his fights went to a decision, with his only loss coming when he was disqualified for using 12-to-6 elbows against Matt Hamill. Jones was dominating in that fight as well, and he’s hardly been challenged despite fighting strong competition in the UFC.
The youngster from upstate New York has already been installed as a favorite against Shogun Rua for their title fight at UFC 128. Though Jones will have an excellent chance at winning the fight, Shogun is no joke. Since joining the UFC in late 2007, Rua is 4-2 with a loss to Forrest Griffin, and a split with Lyoto Machida. After beating Machida in May with a flying punch in the first round, Rua became the light heavyweight division champion.
Jon Jones signing his Shogun contract, via twitter
One factor about this fight that may not be fair is the timing. Though Jones is ecstatic about having a title shot, he only gets six weeks to prepare for it. Rua is in a similar spot as far as gameplanning goes, but his body will be fresher. I thought for sure the fight would be pushed back to potentially UFC 129 in late April or even UFC 130, but that was the case.
Dana White has said that you can do these things (bounce back so quickly) when you’re 23 years old as Bones is, but I still think he should have more time off to prepare for the major bout. Though he’s been in training, he just fought on Saturday evening and now he needs to get back in the Octagon on March 19th.
That doesn’t seem to be a problem for Jonny, who said “My confidence is very high. I’m already in shape and I’ve got six weeks to make myself even better.”
Maybe it’s not an issue for Jones, and maybe I shouldn’t worry. After all, confidence in the ring is a major tool. In the end, I have a feeling we’re looking at the next light heavyweight champion in the UFC.Google+