Rua was the top ranked 205-pound fighter in the sport coming in, while Jones was thought to be the future.
Well, the "new blood" has arrived.
"Bones" not only captured the light heavyweight title, he made it look easy in the process, dominating the former PRIDE superstar inside of three rounds to become the youngest champion in the history of the UFC.
Not to be cliche, but we may very well have just entered "The Jones Era."
A look at the destruction:
As soon as the opening bell sounded Jones went right after Rua and fired off a flying knee. Shortly after a brief exchange, the much larger challenger would take down champion and brutalize him with his trademark ground-n-pound.
Rua eventually got back to his feet, but was clearly on rubber legs from the massive attack of his much larger foe. "Shogun" gamely attempted leglocks, as well as armbars and triangles but his geometry was high school and Jones was a college professor in the cage.
The second round started with Rua pushing forward, and just as it looked like he was showing signs of life, he was met with a spinning back elbow. Much of the round was spent with Jones on top, again landing vicious shots and maintaining his superior position.
However, Rua, never one to give up easily, rolled for a knee bar. Jones would still defend though and land some short hammerfists to close out the frame.
A visibly worn, tired and beaten up "Shogun" somehow answered the bell for round three, diving after another knee bar. And once again, Jones escaped, this time working for a kimura.
Eventually "Bones" ended up in Rua's guard and landed devastating punches and elbows dishing out punishment a mere mortal simply could not withstand. Still, Rua managed to get back to his feet, but after a few more knees and fisticuffs, the ref had seen enough and mercilessly called a stop to the slaughter.
Jon Jones did exactly what he said he would, becoming the first man to stop "Shogun" Rua via strikes en route to winning the 205-pound title.
"Believe in yourself, believe in your heart," Jones said. "Once you get there, don't slow down."
With the win, Jones will now have to take on his (now former) teammate, Rashad Evans, in the first defense of his freshly minted title.
His emotions were soaring high, although they were surely bittersweet, but he understands the game and he's a professional ready to do business.
"We are teammates," Jones said. "It sucks that I have to do this, but this is my dream. This is everything I believe in."
Later that night, Evans would tell Ariel Helwani that he's left Greg Jackson's camp.
"I'm done with Jackson's," Evans said.
No official date has been set for Jones vs. Evans but we'll pass that information along as soon as it becomes available. Get your popcorn ready, Maniacs.