There are few aspects of Jon Jones game that don't stand up to scrutiny. The one major concern, the one potentially glaring flaw, is his chin, or moreover, how he will react to being hit by a powerful striker the likes of say, Mauricio Rua, his opponent tonight (March 19) at UFC 128.
Looking back on his seven fights in the world's largest fight promotion, there isn't exactly a lot of tape that shows how he reacts in adverse situations because, quite frankly, he's never been in an adverse situation. That's a testament to how dominant he's been but it's also a very real concern.
In an interview with UFC.com, "Bones" attempts to dissuade those fears:
"For everyone who says I've never been hit and is wondering how I'll react to it, the reason why I haven't been hit is because I'm literally obsessed with what I'm doing and I'm in the gym every day, three times a day, six hours a day. And when you dedicate your life to it, hopefully you guys will never see me do the chicken dance. That's the way it works. But for people who are wondering how I'll react, I've been hit several times throughout practice and I react just fine. I've been dazed in wrestling - I remember a few times in high school I would throw people and land on my own head and almost knock myself out, but I kept wrestling through it. So I've seen those white flashes before and I've always fought through it. If it happens in this fight, I'm definitely prepared to fight through it and I know I can fight through it."
In many ways, this mirrors the thought process on the man that "Shogun" took the title from, Lyoto Machida. It was long wondered what would happen if he ever took a clean shot to the grill. Rua showed us exactly what, when he knocked him out to win the championship at UFC 113.
But the counter to that argument is that it shouldn't necessarily be looked upon as a negative against someone because, well, fighters don't train to get hit, they train to avoid it. The fact that Jones has been able to avoid so much damage in his career should be looked on positively -- right?
Either way, we very well may find out tonight if Jones' chin can handle a four-ounce gloved missile connecting flush. Or he might never allow himself to be in that position.
He says you won't see him doing the chicken dance. Will we? Stay tuned.