Mixed martial arts trainer Lloyd Irvin is high on Jon Jones and told the Wall Street Journal, that Jones at 23 is a “next-generation fighter.”
The sensational talent made his professional debut slightly less than three years ago on April 12, 2008.
Stephan Bonnar, of Ultimate Fighter fame, dropped a decision to Jones at UFC 94 back in Jan. 2009, and he knows a couple of things about the fight game:
“I’ve never seen anyone throw anything like that. I didn’t even know it hit me. I was laying there thinking someone from the audience threw a bottle or something….
He was like 10 feet away from me and he threw this step-forward back kick and it landed.
I went to counter him and I’m like 10 feet away from him. It’s something you’re not used to dealing with. I mean, 85-inch reach? That’s incredible.”
Jonathan Snowden has much the same take on Jones’ abilities:
“Looking at a snapshot of Jones’s career, provided by the amazing team at FightMetric, the numbers are staggering. Jones has landed twice as many strikes as his opponents in a seven fight UFC tenure. He’s taken down opponents with an almost 70 percent accuracy rate, one of the best in UFC history.
Almost a third of those takedowns were “slams” a takedown that sees a fighter take an opponent completely off both feet before depositing him on the mat. Conversely, no opponent has managed to put Jones on the mat. This includes a collection of great wrestlers like Ryan Bader, Matt Hamill, and Vladimir Matyushenko.”
Jones squares off with light-heavyweight champ Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 128 this weekend, and while his training partner, Rashad Evans, waited months for his shot at Rua, Jones had been playing the part of Rua in training with Evans.
That all adds up to a hell of a donnybrook in our estimation…
UFC 128: Shogun vs. Jones
March 19, 2011
Newark, New Jersey
MAIN CARD (PPV)
- Champ Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Jon Jones
UFC Light Heavyweight Championship
- Urijah Faber vs. Eddie Wineland
- Jim Miller vs. Kamal Shalorus
- Dan Miller vs. Nate Marquardt
- Mirko Cro Cop vs. Brendan Schaub
PRELIMINARY CARD (Spike TV)
- Luiz Cane vs. Eliot Marshall
- Edson Barboza vs. Anthony Njokuani
PRELIMINARY CARD (Facebook.com/UFC)
- Ricardo Almeida vs. Mike Pyle
- Kurt Pellegrino vs. Gleison Tibau
- Joseph Benavidez vs. Ian Loveland
- Raphael Assuncao vs. Erik Koch
- Dan Miller vs. Nick Catone
||6′ 1″ (185 cm)
||205 (93 kg)
After the UFC took over Pride, Rua signed a gargantuan deal with the UFC and made his debut at UFC 76 on September 22, 2007. Upon signing with the UFC, Rua had to make significant changes to his game and adjusted to the UFC rulebook; those changes precluded knees and kicks to head when an opponent is down, which were allowed in Pride FC bouts .
Rua took on The Ultimate Fighter 1 winner Forrest Griffin for his debut outing in the UFC.
Widely regarded as the best light heavyweight in the world, Rua was the Vegas favorite to win the Griffin bout. However, after Rua punched himself out during the second round, he found himself falling behind Griffin’s relentless pace. With only 15 seconds remaining in the fight Griffin forced Rua to tap out with a rear naked choke.
Rua suffered a ruptured ACL during training late last year, the same injury many say he suffered against Forrest Griffin.
A couple of surgeries later, Rua took on Chuck Liddell at UFC 97 in Montreal, Canada at the Bell Centre on April 18 , 2009.
Rua (19-4 MMA, 3-2 UFC), then knocked out Lyoto Machida at UFC 113 to earn the 205-pound title.
UFC 128: “Shogun vs. Jones”
Sat., March 19, 2011, at 10 p.m. ET on pay-per-view (PPV)
Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey
205 lbs.: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (19-4) vs. Jon Jones (12-1)
Main Card (Televised):
- 135 lbs.: Urijah Faber (24-4) vs. Eddie Wineland (18-6-1)
- 155 lbs.: Jim Miller (19-2) vs. Kamal Shalorus (7-0-2)
- 265 lbs.: Brendan Schaub (7-1) vs. Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic (27-8-2)
- 155 lbs.: Yoshihiro Akiyama (13-3) vs. Nate Marquardt (30-10-2)
Undercard (May not be broadcast):
- 155 lbs.: Kurt Pellegrino (16-5) vs. Gleison Tibau (21-7)
- 170 lbs.: Ricardo Almeida (13-4) vs. Mike Pyle (20-7-1)
- 155 lbs.: Anthony Njokuani (13-4) vs. Edson Barboza Jr. (7-0)
- 205 lbs.: Luiz Cane (10-3) vs. Karlos Vemola (8-1)
- 135 lbs.: Joseph Benavidez (13-2) vs. Ian Loveland (14-7)
- 145 lbs.: Raphael Assuncao (16-3) vs. TBA
- 185 lbs.: Nick Catone (8-2) vs. Dan Miller (13-4)