On March 19th, 2011 like many of you i witnessed what may go down as the greatest win in the light-heavyweight division or in respect a new defining moment in MMA. The red-hot crowd of Newark, New Jersey bared witness to what many considered hype into reality
New York native Jon "Bones" Jones had a Mozart like performance as he assaulted what many consider the greatest 205er in history with ease. Knees, elbows, fists and kicks were unleashed at a record 84' inch reach and when Shogun got inside he felt power via takedowns at will. It was a moment i will not soon forget as i ate a whole lot of crow on my friend's couch. I never doubted Jones' talent nor if he was able to be UFC light-heavyweight champion but not yet over Shogun Rua. I believed in Shogun when no one favored him against then champion Lyoto Machida in the 1st fight and he in my eyes won. The 2nd fight he exacted his revenge in fashion via KO ending the Machida-era.
After being laid off for a year or so, Shogun walked in to something no one has been able to crack. He faced a fresh Bones and the result was a whooping he may never forget anytime soon. I bet we see these two again but until then, the Bones era will most likely be a graveyard..
Themoments were something filled with an aura like Liddellwas able to conjure up back in his prime. The crowd stared with wander as Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind" roared over the speakers. The UFC the past week had pushed hard for MMA in the big apple and the new era of MMA walks out to the attained New York theme for our generation. The song, the words and what it speaks just gave Jones a theme to walk o as he seemed to be soaking it up.
As he stood there and listened to Buffer announce his stats you could see this calmness to him. He knew what he was about to do andthat he was going to live the dream. He looked at Shogun with absolution in his talents and what he is capable of doing.
The first round is what finally made me get over the wander andrealize what we were really seeing here. We saw a man destroy a legend, fulfill his potential and rise to the occasion. He was moments away at times from winning the gold simple. Shogun showed that he may have the tools to beat Jones but not this night was he able to add to his cracks of light
The 2nd round was a display of brutality never done so gracefully and perfectly. It was getting scary because, i didn't want to see Shogun at the tail end of a brutal KO like Mirko Cro Cop had earlier. The endof round showed a fustrated andoverwhelmed Shogun return to his corner with out an answer. Jones knew he needed to endit this round because regardless of his dominance one shot from the champion could end what is to be
The 3rd andfinal round was the nail in Shogun's reign as he succumbed to a beating he was use to dishing out to his foes. Jones proved he was no longer hype and the Lebron James of MMA with a fight that everyone could not make an excuse but accept the facts.
Jones fell to the canvas and embraced the moment as he visualized. He knew he could be champion but like many great mixed martial artists he just needed to overcome that moment of definition. He will regardless of haters and their words will be one of the best for years to come. The only way Jones can lose is by a superior opponent or by his own self. It was just such a moment of atonement that ended a great fight card and officially begins what will be an era.
We saw people like Rizzo, Belfort and Kerr who dominanted but when that moment of greatness was to be they just couldn't get over the hurdle. Mental weakness and problems stopped greatness and leading to fans disappointed. Jones has overcome that hurdle and his first opponent is Rashad Evans, a former training partner. Jones and Evans have admitted friendship in the past and now must face each other.
Will the idea of Evans knowing Jones'weaknesses mess with Jones or having the job of hurting a friend keep him from being the ruthless killer he's been prior. This story of what could be the greatest MMA fighter shall go on to the next chapter "defense".
They say that you are not a champion until, you can defend that title at least once. The greatest run in the light-heavyweight champion belongs to the "Huntington Beach Bad Boy" Tito Ortiz at 5 followed by striker "The iceman" Chuck Liddell at 4. Regardless of the men a champion faces it's still no easy task toi defendyour belt against all comers. We now know that Jones will defend it first against wrestler Rashad Evans and now ex-teammate.
A former 1x UFC Light-Heavyweight champion who was a victim of the "Machida-Era". Evans, regardless of personal feelings does nothing but win time and time again. He is heavy handed andable to box with anyone at LHW. He showed respect to strikers Rampage and Thiago Silva because, when they connected they almost won their respective outings. This may be Evans chance to legitimize himself by following a wrestling based fight and earn a UD over Jon Jones.
Whatever happens from now I'll just enjoy a fighter we may never see the likes of again. He is a breed of fighter truly defined as a freak athlete who was able to follow Greg Jacksoin's guidance en route to a UFC Light-Heavyweight championship.