ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 21: Jon Jones arrives for his light heavyweight title bout against Rashad Evans for UFC 145 at Philips Arena on April 21, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Four fights, four former champions, four victories for Jon Jones.
Tonight (April 21) when the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) rolled into Atlanta, "Bones" proved he was alone atop the light heavyweight mountain when he took apart his UFC 145 opponent, Rashad Evans, over the course of 25 minutes.
"Suga" found a measure of success in the opening round, taking the five minute period on two judges' scorecards but standing elbows in the second stanza changed the entire complexion of the fight.
As Jones' elbows cracked against his opponent's skull, the tide began to shift significantly in the champion's favor and in the following three rounds, he never looked back as he began to pull away from the challenger.
Evans, ranked as the number one 205-pounder after he defeated Forrest Griffin at UFC 92, marks the fourth such fighter "Bones" has defeated in as many fights. He yanked the title from Mauricio Rua's waist and then submitted both Quinton Jackson and Lyoto Machida, all in a 13 month period which could very well go down as the most impressive span of fights in mixed martial arts (MMA) history.
There doesn't seem to be anyone left to challenge the young champion.
Well, no one except a veteran with a bomb for a right hand.
With "The Spider" being kept busy with Chael Sonnen and a light heavyweight division now bereft of challengers, it looks as if "Hendo" will be the latest former champion to match up against Jones.
In UFC and PRIDE Fighting Championship history, there have been -- aside from "Bones" -- 12 men to hold a light heavyweight title. Three -- Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture and Frank Shamrock -- are retired, and two -- Vitor Belfort and Wanderlei Silva -- have dropped to 185-pounds. Two -- Tito Ortiz and Griffin -- are miles away from their heyday and will likely never get back into title contention while the aforementioned four have already lost to Jones.
Dan Henderson is the only one who remains.
Before UFC 145, I wrote that a win for Jones would make him the greatest light heavyweight of all time. He's only held the belt for 13 months but he's picked apart just about every other fighter who had it before him.
Who is left for him to beat?
After Henderson, perhaps Alexander Gustafsson? The Swede is good but still at least two or three fights away from being ready to challenge for Jones' crown.
"Bones" is simply on a level unmatched by any of his peers. He proved it at UFC 128. He proved it again at UFC 135 and UFC 140. And in case you didn't believe him the first three times, he shoved the proof in everyone's -- especially Evans' -- face tonight in Atlanta.
Just be thankful you don't have a welt on your forehead like "Suga" does.