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UFC 128: Jon Jones Ends the "Shogun Era"

  • Published in Americas

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.

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UFC 140 Highlights the Gentrification of Mixed Martial Arts

  • Published in News

Over the weekend at UFC 140 the two featured bouts of the evening saw exciting finishes by two of UFC’s bigger stars. Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir took the fight to another former [Interim] UFC Heavyweight Champion in Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, surviving being knocked out by quickly reversing a choke and applying an armlock and promptly breaking Big Nog’s arm. Current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones put on an equally as impressive finish after recovering from being outpointed on his feet to working the challenger Lyoto Machida over with elbows on the ground before he was able to corner the challenger and apply a neck chancre that rendered Machida unconscious.

As a fan, it is hard to complain about fights at this level being finished in thrilling fashion. So, while it may be hard to complain about the fights being finished in a dramatic, decisive fashion, there are some other, much more troubling trends in both of these fights that have gone largely unnoticed amidst the excitement. Behavior of fighters has changed, as fans have noticed over the past few years, with both of the featured fights this weekend making light of this. Big Nog suffered a broken arm at the hands of Frank Mir, Nog still laying on the mat while Mir quickly pulled on the gear from his sponsors and celebrated. Jon Jones claimed that he “knew” Lyoto Machida was out cold, but quickly let go to strut off while Machida fell head-first to the mat in a heap.

It is a matter of respect and concern for the opponent’s well-being that seemingly melted away over the past few years, being flaunted on-air at UFC 140. It is a paradigm shift that has occured in the rush to help “legitimize” MMA as a “real sport” in the United States.

Continue reading about "Bushido."

 

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Jon Jones: Rust Never Sleeps, or the Ballad of Kurt and Bones

  • Published in K-1

Jon Jones“It’s better to burn out than to fade away.”

Those words were etched into the college ruled, spiral bound notebooks of enough troubled teens in the mid-90’s to probably fill up an entire landfill. The line is from Neil Young’s “My My, Hey Hey,” where Young takes a look at the self destructive rocker and legend that was Johnny Rotten. For kids in the 90’s there would be no connection to Neil Young’s song, instead it was the troubled last line of Kurt Cobain’s suicide letter, where one of rock n’ roll’s last true heroes gave up his struggle and admitted he lost his passion for music and his fans long ago.

Great talents can come at a cost, and many will ask of what could of been if former room mate and sonic collaborator Dylan Carlson of the band Earth had never given Cobain a shotgun and had never introduced Cobain to drug culture in general. Kurt Cobain had a natural talent for composition when it came to music, but never had the patience to go down the road of mastery of the craft. That was the other big “what if” surrounding Cobain; “what if” he put in the time and the effort to really nail down the technical aspects of playing the drums, piano or guitar, how would that of affected his song writing and accentuated his natural almost freakish ability to write appealing music?

Cobain also suffered from disenchantment of his upbringing and personal life, often times creating his own unique narrative to explain events in his life to better suit the “Kurt” that he presented to the public. According to Kurt his first concert was a Melvins show, the Melvins being one of the most influential and unrelentingly independent bands of their era, when the truth was his first concert was a Sammy Hagar concert. Cobain’s life story is filled with small details like this, including claims of being homeless and living under a bridge of the Wishkah River after an argument with his mother and pretending that he was a homosexual in school to be left alone. It was all to build up the mythos behind the troubled rocker, as it was more troubled and uncommon than a boy that never recovered from his parent’s divorce.

Kurt CobainSo Cobain is often reflected upon for what he was; an incredible, undeniable talent who never lived up to his full potential and alienated and upset many people along the way through his erratic behavior and penchant for lying to create more interest in the public personality he had cultivated for himself. Cobain was living in a bubble of a world, where his natural talents quickly took him to the top of his game but he found himself unable to sustain it before burning himself out and ultimately deciding to end his life to secure his legacy and possibly make sense of the mess that was his life and career.

UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones finds himself in an eerily similar situation, as his freakish talents as a fighter and an athlete are unparalleled. He was able to quickly move up to becoming the champion on his weight class at a very young age, as well as had big money sponsorship offers rolling in to help support his career as a fighter and made him a huge star. When I watch Jon Jones, I marvel at his natural talents, his instincts and his ability to understand his surroundings, but at the same time I begin to see the hang ups that affected Cobain.

Kurt had the innate ability to piece together simple yet effective melodies and harmonies from his limited knowledge of the guitar, penning songs that will outlive most of us. Over the years he picked up more and more as he played music for a living, as any musician would, but he never had all of the right tools in his toolbox. Jon Jones understands when to strike, what angles to use and knows how to judge distance very well, but still lacks the polished technique and know-how to string together a series of effective strikes to damage an opponent and be considered effective. From the mistimed and sloppy head kick and looping hooks against Ryan Bader to the attempts of pulling off Anderson Silva stunts against Rampage that were met with simple jabs and leg kicks for his trouble there are some clear, glaring flaws in Jon Jones’s stand up (if you choose to look at him objectively and not as a superhuman infallible being). Post-fight there were even reports of Jones having a potential broken foot, which could be a symptom of his unpolished kicking technique (Rampage really did no damage to Jones all fight). Jon Jones the fighter does many, many things well, but to ignore his flaws merely on the merits of his success is to discredit Jones, the sport and his opponents.

Jones shares Cobain’s affinity for creating his own narrative to explain his personality and his life in a manner that suits his needs as opposed to reality. Jones will do interviews in a fake British accent, possibly use underhanded methods to spy on opponents, thank his god in advance for his victory and play the role of a humble, pious individual when those who have been close to him tell a different story. The Jon Jones that he and the UFC present to the world is squeaky clean and will apparently not need a maturing and growth phase that every adult needs, yet cracks show through to those that look hard enough. Jon Jones, much like Kurt Cobain, won’t have time to master his craft, as he is already heralded as the best around by fans and pundits alike. Instead, he’ll have to deal with his instant success and find a way to manage that while still trying to improve and not eventually be left behind. It is still too soon to say what will become of Jon Jones, but when compared to a case like Kurt Cobain, it can be hard to ignore that rust never sleeps.

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Photo of the Day: Cosmo Alexandre Trains MMA With UFC Fighters Jon Jones and GSP

  • Published in Kickboxing

Yet another of the kickboxing/muay thai world is dipping his toes into the water of the MMA world, this time in the way of Cosmo Alexandre. As we've seen with Cosmo, he is immensely talented, hits hard and has incredible skill. If he learned how to sprawl and escape submissions he could be a force to be reckoned with in MMA, but of course, that takes years of preparation.

If you've been following Cosmo's exploits online, you've seen the mentions of him training for MMA, but here is the photographic proof of him training with some of the best (or at least posing with them). [source]

Cosmo with Jon Jones Cosmo with GSP
Cosmo/Jon Jones Cosmo/GSP
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Photo of the Day: Jon Jones Helps Badr Hari Celebrate

  • Published in Kickboxing

Jones

This weekend's LEGEND 2: Invasion was a great example of a promotion that shows a lot of promise but still needs to work out the kinks in their production. Crazy T-100 NFL rappers with cheerleaders is cool and all, but having such things happen in between what felt like every fight tends to make everything drag on a bit too much. That's just me, though, maybe that is what Russian fans are really into, my finger isn't on the pulse of the Russian people.

Anyway, Jon Jones was paid a lot of money to fly out to LEGEND 2: Invasion, put on a seminar at the owner's gym and then basically hang out for a week. This resulted in Jon Jones photobombs of all kinds including this one of Jon Jones awkwardly dancing to help Badr Hari celebrate his victory with the Mike's Gym crew post-fight. If I were a young, inebriated UFC Light Heavyweight Champion I'd probably be doing the same thing.

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LiverKick.com Goes "All In" for Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC 128 Against Jon Jones

  • Published in Kickboxing

ShogunTo say I'm a pretty bright guy is probably an understatement, and to publicly say that is probably a good way to make people either roll their eyes or continue an onslaught of e*attacks against my person, yet here I am, writing exactly that. I think having some confidence in a world of uncertainty is a great feature to possess. Like a good portion of hardcore fans on the internet, I've been watching MMA for a very long time, and like an even smaller portion, I watched PRIDE during its heyday.

I don't make a lot of PRIDE NEVER DIE posts, but yes, the bushido spirit flows through my veins at times and I remember that really awesome Japanese promotion that was home to a lot of the world's top talent as well as a lot of the world's most charismatic cans and both sometimes converged to create incredible squashes like only PRIDE could do. That is to keep the haters happy, as there were also a lot of really, really incredible fights between the best in the world.

So I have to be honest, I'm scratching my head over here; how is Mauricio "Shogun" Rua an underdog against Jon "Bones" Jones at this weekend's UFC 128 event? I pose a very, very serious question to those that feel like Jones is unstoppable; who has he beaten compared to Shogun? Shogun was the PRIDE 2005 Middleweight Champion, quite possibly having the most incredible tournament run imaginable for that year. Shogun defeated, in the opening round, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, then Antonio Rogerio "Little Nog" Nogueira, Alistair Overeem and then Ricardo Arona.

To me, this fight is a no-brainer. An absolute no-brainer, to the extent that I've been given $1,000 by BetDSI to bet on this fight, and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I'm all in for Mauricio Shogun Rua. The odds on BetDSI right now? Ridiculous. Shogun is +155 and I'm betting that I'll be laughing all the way to the bank on this one. So that is, risking $1,000 to win $1,550. Want to know why? Read more.

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Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson Take to Social Media

  • Published in MMA News

Social media completely rules our modern lives in awkward and sometimes negative ways. A fighter like Jon Jones would have been a huge star and everyone's favorite in a pre-internet era, but in an age where he can take to Twitter or Instagram and say something stupid, he tends to do exactly that and it only hurts him and everyone around him. His latest little mistake was addressing fans on Instagram in regards to him "ducking" Gustafsson and wanting to fight Cormier instead. He quickly took the video down, but this is the internet and nothing truly goes away. 

As for Gustafsson, he wants his UFC Light Heavyweight Championship bout and he wants it now, which prompted him to hit Facebook with a call out of his own. 

Jon "Bones" Jones, be a man, be a champ and sign that bout agreement and stop running. Keep in mind that after I beat you and become the champ I might be doing the same to you when you chase me for a rematch, as a revenge for not accepting my challenge.

Sooner or later you will have to face me, just make it sooner!

The fans wants this fight, UFC wants this fight and I want this fight, and I damn deserve it.

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Jones vs. Gustafsson II Finally Official

  • Published in MMA News

The will he or won't he with Jon Jones signing the contract to fight Alexander Gustafsson has finally come to an end. Alexander Gustafsson and Jon Jones will rematch for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship on September 27th after a lot of posturing and talk about contract negotiations. This is the fight that UFC fans have been waiting for since their last meeting, with the two even being the ones featured in the EA Sports UFC demo that was released earlier this week. 

Jon Jones had been telling the public that he'd prefer to fight with Daniel Cormier, while Gustafsson was expressing his concern over the fight not happening. Jon Jones had a meeting in Las Vegas with Zuffa and the matter finally was resolved.

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Jon Jones Wants to Fight Cormier, Says White

  • Published in MMA News

UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones has been under some level of scrutiny at every point of his UFC career, the latest comes with his "contract negotiations" with the UFC. After UFC 173 Dana White stated that the UFC was currently negotiating with Jon Jones, but now posted a news story on UFC.com claiming that they have Jon Jones under contract for five more fights still and are trying to get him to sign a bout agreement. Okay.

What exactly is going on? Dana White claims that Jon Jones is refusing to fight Alexander Gustafsson and would rather fight Daniel Cormier now. I'm not so sure that is a bad problem to have, although the rematch with Gustafsson is one that many fans are clamoring to see still. I'm not sure what to make of it, but Jon Jones does have the right to negotiate a new contract with the UFC for more money without being razzed for "ducking" a fight. 

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Daniel Cormier Willing to Fight Gustafsson For Interim Title

  • Published in MMA News

The rematch between Alexander Gustafsson and Jon Jones for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship is supposed to be next up for Jon Jones, but right now Jon Jones is in the middle of contract negotiations with the UFC. Those contract negotiations have led to a bit of a rift between the UFC and Jon Jones at the moment, with Dana White acting frustrated with Jones. Now, let's be honest here, Jon Jones is one of the UFC's real big stars at this point and their Light Heavyweight Champion, the guy should be allowed to negotiate his contract without getting run down in the press.

Daniel Cormier has decided to toss his hat into the ring already, though. He is ready to go and would be willing to fight Alexander Gustafsson for the Interim Light Heavyweight Championship. Sounds crazy, right? Well, knowing the UFC, it might not be. If the UFC wanted to apply pressure to Jones all they'd have to do is imply that he could be replaced and have an Interim title fight. 

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