We just saw a hype train not get derailed, but fly off of the rails on its own accord and into the realm of hyperbole. Not in a very long time have I seen a fighter get as hyped up so quickly as Jon Jones has in his very brief Mixed Martial Arts career. Jones has all of the potential in the world, has a large, lanky frame and a wrestling pedigree on top of a sense of creativity that most Mixed Martial Artists are afraid to express.
There is a very good chance that tonight Dana White and the Fertitas were finally able to create a new, homegrown star and one that will have wider appeal than a middle aged white man with a beer gut and a mohawk could have. Jon Jones handled Shogun like he was a small child, and while all of his weaknesses were still there, his strengths were enough to make Shogun look like an average fighter to say the least. Jones had a hard time keeping position on the ground due to poor posturing while going for big elbow strikes, on his feet his footwork as as sloppy as ever and the big shots were never set up or followed up on.
That won't matter to most because he won the fight in dominant fashion and landed a few big, cool moves on his feet that will fill a highlight reel up for future fights quite nicely. A lot of those cool moves he throws he actually did't pick up from Jackson or Winklejohn, but former K-1 fighter Mark Miller (whom I urge you to Google, guy has the best story in combat sports) who he used to train with. So the flash of Jon Jones came from one of the few kickboxers in the United States that were able to prove themselves on an international level in the past ten years and added to the wrestling base that Greg Jackson has been able to have a field day with.
Jones moves on to face team mate Rashad Evans and a slew of articles hailing him as the greatest champion prospect to ever live, but he'll need to keep his head on the ground and pick up some of those fundamentals if he wants to stay on top, because eventually someone will be able to exploit them.
Dave Walsh has been covering MMA and Kickboxing since 2007 before changing his focus solely to Kickboxing in 2009, launching what was the only English-language site dedicated to giving Kickboxing similar coverage to what MMA receives. He was the co-founder of HeadKickLegend and now LiverKick. He resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he works as a writer of all trades.
His second novel, Terminus Cycle, launches on March 24th.
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