I might be crazy, but I think the end is near for Jon Jones. There is a perfect storm of circumstances right around the corner that will spell the demise of the current light heavyweight champion. When you look at the current seven champions, he is by far the most marketable. Dominick Cruz and Jose Aldo are tough as nails, but they don’t sell pay per views. Anderson Silva and George St Pierre are hurt and will miss most of 2012. That leaves heavyweight champ Junior Dos Santos (a killer inside the cage, but tough to market due to his limited English) Frankie Edgar (another killer atop the stacked lightweight division, but not the most charismatic) and Jones.
Jones is the total package for the UFC. He is at the top of the pound for pound list, looks like a movie star and is an excellent interview. Dana White knows better than anyone how quickly titles change hands in this sport, so he is going to get the most out of Jones.
Jones talked about taking some time off after defeating Lyoto Machida Saturday night. I can’t imagine how mentally draining his schedule had to be the past couple of weeks. Add in the fact he has fought “Shogun” Rua, “Rampage” Jackson and now Machida in his last three fights, the kid has earned a vacation.
That would be fine in a normal UFC but with GSP and Silva hurt and pay per views needing to be sold, I would expect Jones back in the octagon this spring.
His fight at UFC 140 came exactly 11 weeks after he defeated Jackson. When you consider most guys at this level use 6/8 weeks to get prepared, that didn’t leave Jones a lot of time to recharge the battery.
With money making fights against Dan Henderson and Rashad Evans coming in 2012, the road doesn’t get any easier.
Another piece to this puzzle was exposed Saturday night. Machida had a pretty decent first round before getting choked out in the second. During the course of that first round, Machida cracked Jones with a couple of hard punches. The look on Jones face made it clear that the champ didn’t enjoy the experience.
Most people don’t enjoy getting punched in the face, but it is one of the job skills required if you are going to be a champion in the UFC. Watching Jones grimace made me think of Roger Gracie. Gracie was having great success in his brief Strikeforce career winning his first 4 fights via submission. There was talk of Gracie getting a shot at the light heavyweight belt if he was able to get by King Mo.
There was only one problem. King Mo came to fight and as soon as he landed a huge shot to the side of Gracie’s head, the man with the famous last name couldn’t find a soft place to land fast enough. He was done and the mystique ended.
There was a pretty good documentary about former NFL quarterback Todd Marinovich on ESPN this weekend. Marinovich stated that after winning a big game for the LA Raiders during his rookie season, he lost his desire for football and was ready to move on to other challenges.
Marinovich had bigger issues that luckily are not a problem for Jones, but I don’t think “Bones” is a “lifer” when it comes to fighting. When I say “lifer” I’m talking about guys like Nick Diaz who will probably still be fighting when he’s 50, I wonder if Jones will still be fighting when he is 30.
If there’s ever a guy that the saying “the world is your oyster” applies to, it’s Jones. Why would you want to keep up the crazy schedule, the weight cuts, the punches to the head when there are careers screaming your name that pay more money without all the hassle?
Jones had a look on his face Saturday night that we haven’t seen before. Maybe he beats Henderson and Evans and challenges Anderson Silva’s record for most successful title defenses. He might, but I am not betting on it. I think Dan Henderson is going to land one of those massive right hands and Jon Jones (like Roger Gracie) is going down and out.
Out as light heavyweight champion and out of the rat race the UFC has put him in over the past 12 months.
You have to be of a different mindset to last in this game. Guys like Liddell, Diaz, Henderson, Silva (Anderson and Wanderlei) have that mindset and maybe Jones does too, I just think his reign will end sooner than later.