UFC 126 Results: Jon Jones Is Right On Time For Title Shot

via insidefights.com

Is the title shot against Mauricio "Shogun" Rua coming too early for Jon Jones? Nope. In fact, he's the only suitable candidate.

Jon Jones defeats Ryan Bader last night at UFC 126. No sooner than he's announced the winner that UFC commentator Joe Rogan tells Jones that because Rashad Evans is injured, the UFC is offering Jones a title shot against Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC 128. Some have speculated this is too much, too soon. They are wrong.

The answer to the question of whether or not it's too early for Jon Jones is simple to answer. All you need to do is consult the USA TODAY/SB Nation Consensus MMA Rankings to see there really is no one left for Shogun to fight.

Rank Fighter % Promotion Last Rank
1 Mauricio Rua 100 UFC 1
2 Rashad Evans 94 UFC 2
3 Quinton Jackson 92 UFC 3
4 Lyoto Machida 89 UFC 4
5 Ryan Bader 79 UFC 6
6 Forrest Griffin 78 UFC 5
7 Jon Jones 69 UFC 7
8 Thiago Silva 63 UFC 8
9 Antonio Rogerio Nogueira 53 UFC 9
10 Gegard Mousasi 51 Strikeforce 10
11 Rich Franklin 46 UFC 11
11 Rafael Cavalcante 46 Strikeforce 12
13 Muhammed Lawal 40 Strikeforce 14
14 Dan Henderson 39 Strikeforce 13
15 Randy Couture 38 UFC 15
16 Phil Davis 31 UFC 16
17 Matt Hamill 27 UFC 18
18 Anderson Silva 25 UFC 17
19 Renato Sobral 23 Strikeforce 19
20 Alexander Gustafsson 19 UFC 20
21 Jason Brilz 16 UFC 21
22 Trevor Prangley 15 Shark Fight 22
23 Cyrille Diabate 14 UFC 23
24 Stephan Bonnar 12 UFC 29
25 Vladimir Matyushenko 11 UFC 27

Look at who is left and you'll quickly see the list of possible contenders to Shogun's throne are very slim.

Rashad Evans is ranked second, but Jones is getting the title shot because he's out in the first place.

Quinton Jackson's eventual rematch with Shogun is a highly appealing fight, but he's already slated to take on Brazilian slugger Thiago Silva at UFC 130. The UFC could've yanked that match, but a) Jackson is still on the comeback after a long layoff and b) the match itself is highly appealing. The UFC would be fixing one problem, but creating another by compromising the quality of the UFC 130 card.

Lyoto Machida is not only tied up with Randy Couture at UFC 129, but is on a losing streak, to say noting of the fact that part of that losing streak comes at the hands of a rematch loss to the UFC light heavyweight champion himself.

Ryan Bader might've been an interesting challenge for Shogun, but his loss last night eliminates him as a possible opponent.

Thiago Silva is fighting Rampage Jackson at UFC 130, so he's obviously out.

Antonio Rogerio Nogueira would be a suitable opponent. A rematch with Shogun after the PRIDE era is highly suitable, but he's set to face Tito Ortiz at UFC Fight Night 24.

After losing last night to Forrest Griffin, Rich Franklin would hardly be a suitable contender for Shogun to face, nor is he likely healthy enough to make the turn around in just six weeks.

I'm sure Randy Couture would love a title shot against Shogun, but again, he's set to face Machida on the mega UFC 129 card in Toronto.

When we eliminate all possible contenders, we are left with guys who are either clearly undeserving of a title shot of promising prospects who need much more time and experience before they are thrown to the wolves. Anderson Silva would be an interesting opportunity, but with a potentially mega-fight with Georges St. Pierre looming there's no point in giving Silva a light heavyweight title shot.

I don't think the objections to Jones getting a title shot are necessarily without merit, but by a process of simple elimination Jones is far and away the best candidate for Mauricio Rua to face at UFC 128.

Ready or not, here he comes.

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