I have to admit it was the first time I saw him fight. It was last Sunday night and they were showing a rerun of UFC Versus 1 and immediately following was UFC Versus 2. Jon ‘Bones’ Jones was the main event on each card. I had heard about him from the commentators in previous UFC fights, they always said he looks fantastic, but you can never tell for sure until they are tested by fighting a tried and true veteran. It happens time and time again in the UFC, an up-and-comer steps up to the next level of competition and gets destroyed. Every once in a while the read deal comes along. And now that deal is Jon ‘Bones’ Jones.
In UFC Versus 1 Jones fought Branden Vera. I’ve seen Vera fight a lot so I know how good, and seasoned, he is. I thought Jones’ honeymoon was over. After all, Vera has fought some of the top fighters at heavyweight and had dropped down to face the top fighters at 205. He all but stifled Randy Couture in a UFC match, Couture won but Vera made it a close match. So Vera is a legitimate top contender. So we all know what happened, Jones destroyed Vera in the first round. He may have broken Vera’s orbital (eye) socket bone, Vera was really hurt and had to call it quits. So now is Jones for real? Maybe. Did he get lucky and just catch Vera? Or did he really outclass him that much?
In UFC Versus 2, Jones fought Vladimir Matyushenko. I’ve never seen him fight either, but he was champion in another mixed martial arts (MMA) organization so he had definitely proven himself. More impressive to me, as an ex-highs school wrestler, was that Matyushenko was long-time national heavyweight wrestling champion of Russia. Wow, not that’s saying something, the Russians are at a world class in wrestling, and so Matyushenko had competed in wrestling internationally for years. Jones could be in trouble this time, Vladimir Matyushenko was a proven world class warrior. Jones had been the national junior college wrestling champion in the U.S. But still, compared to the Russian national champion? Well once the bell rung, it was a quick takedown. By Jones. Jones instantly got on top of him at the side, and pinned both of Matyushenko’s arms outstretched out to the sides in what they call a crucifix position (you get the picture). With both arms trapped Matyushenko’s face was left wide open for Jones’ viscious elbows, and the referee stopped the fight quickly.
So in my opinion Jones has proven he belongs as a contender at the top of the weight classs. Is he the best? He hasn’t proven that yet. Is he a phenom? Definitely. He’s only 23 years old so he is just getting started, imagine what several years more of training and experience will do in addition to the raw telent he has displayed. There are some incredibly tough and experienced contenders at 205 in the MMA world, it’s a who’s who of probably future hall of famers. They better not take Jones lightly, he might be the next big deal in mixed martial arts. A phenom.