Are we in the Jon Jones era? Not yet, says former Era-pparent Lyoto Machida


Machida whooping Jon Jones put on Mauricio Rua back at UFC 128?

No question the young light heavyweight phenom is a tremendous talent, who reached the pinnacle of mixed martial arts with a triumphant and title-winning performance back on March 19 in Newark, NJ.

But before we start assigning labels, we might want to put things in perspective.

Like Booker T will tell you, "FIVE TIMES!" That's how many 205-pound champions we've seen come and go in the past four years before "Bones" became number six.

So how does the Paterson crime fighter put a stop to the golden game of hot potato?

Well, first things first, he has to keep winning. Judging on what he's been able to do up until this point in his career, it seems like a foregone conclusion. But fate is a cruel mistress, and today's "invincible" is tomorrow's "exposed."

Take it from former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida, who tells that it may just be a matter of time before a fighter with the right style can change history (again):

"Sometimes the guy doesn’t have to go through a lot, because sometimes he’s just that good… I could tell this guy had great potential. But, like I said, this is the most busy weight division so it’s hard to remain on the top for a long time…. When I won the championship title, everybody told me I’d hold it for a long time. But it happens that you become a target, people start to study you, so you’re stalked, and everybody wants to beat you down. It’s hard to say, but I’m sure he has plenty physical and technical skills to be on the top. We, as his opponents, must study to find out the best way to beat him, because he’s too strong physically ... When you study the fight, because he’ll also study me, nobody knows how the other will behave, and I’m sure he has a great team working with him, so our skills are equal. I believe I have a different style from most fighters, and I truly believe it, but it’s a thing that, honestly, I don’t really care right now. I’m only worried about my next opponent, because I’m on a different situation now, I’m not on the line for a title shot, not now. It all can change in a matter of days, but it’s not happening right now. My next step is fighting Couture, and the next step is always the most important for me."

"The Dragon" became the proud new owner of "The Machida Era" after a second round destruction of Rashad Evans in their UFC 98 title fight back in May 2009. The souring of "Suga" pushed his record to 15-0 and came on the heels of a brutal knockout over Thiago Silva earlier that year.

Silva, like Evans, was undefeated at the time and considered the cream of the 205-pound crop.

That gave fans, pundits and even UFC color commentator Joe Rogan a lot to cheer for -- until a pesky Brazilian named Mauricio Rua came and dismantled the pee-drinking pop star at UFC 104.

Machida would steal the decision but "Shogun" finished what he started at UFC 113, cold-cocking the champ and taking over as the new dominant force at light heavyweight.

And we all saw how long that lasted.

So, how about it Maniacs. Can Jones stop the divisional bleeding and keep the strap for years to come? Or is it just a matter of time before an experienced veteran can study his style and nullify it?

Is Jon Jones the next Anderson Silva? Or just another spoke in the wheel?

Opinions, please.

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