There was a great scene last year on the HBO series “Hard Knocks” featuring New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan. Ryan was speaking to his team at the start of training camp on the status of holdout defensive back Derrell Revis. I might be paraphrasing, but the message of Ryan’s message was something like…”Revis isn’t here…are we going to miss him? Yeah…He’s pretty good…He’s pretty F’n good!”
That’s the way I felt after watching Jon Jones walk through Rampage Jackson Saturday night. You can talk all you want about Rampage being on the downside of his hall of fame career, or the effect of fighting in the high altitude of Denver, none of it matters. What we saw Saturday night was a one sided beat-down. It looked like a man fighting a kid, except the roles were reversed with the 24 yr old Jones looking like the seasoned veteran.
Joe Rogan made a point somewhere in the 2nd or 3rd round that Jackson had the look of a guy who had no idea what to do. I thought Rogan was right on target, but then thought about that statement. In Jackson you have a guy who has fought some of the toughest guys in the sport. Guys like Liddell, Henderson and Wanderlei Silva to name a few, but here was young Jon Jones (in just his 15th pro fight) leaving him wandering around the octagon with no answers.
In the NFL it’s trendy to describe a player as a “Hybrid”. Antonio Gates, Calvin Johnson and similar players have had that title bestowed upon them. I always thought it was a cliche, but I have to admit it’s the first word that comes to mind when I think about Jones.
He is 6’4 which is pretty tall for a light heavyweight. We have seen his wrestling skills as well as his power. His defense appears to be solid; I guess the only question mark is his chin. Jones is so crafty though, I don’t know if anyone in the division has the ability to keep him in one place long enough to see if the champ can survive a big punch.
Last week I heard more and more people whining about Jones personality. “He is too cocky; He needs to stop talking so much.” I have never understood that. I had the chance to interview Jones a couple of times prior to his fight with Vladimir Matyushenko and found him to be a good guy with a great sense of humor.
For those that still have doubts about Jones, there are a couple of fights on the horizon that will answer any possible questions. The first will be a grudge match with Rashad Evans. The brief meeting between the two fighters in the cage Saturday showed there is legit heat between these guys. Will these guys be able to put the bad feelings behind them and focus on their game plan? OR will emotions rise, leading to one making a mistake leading to defeat?
That should be an excellent fight, but I would still favor Jones. There’s also the chance of a fight with current Strikeforce champ Dan Henderson who has signed a deal to return to the UFC. Henderson has a tough fight coming up with “Shogun” Rua at UFC 139, but would be in line for a title shot with a win.
How would Jones react if Henderson landed that huge right hand which has ended so many fights? I don’t know, what I do know is Jones proved again Saturday night that he is good….he’s pretty F’n good!