Last night featured good fights and a card thick with talent. The fights had meaning and UFC lightweight Jim Miller made a fantastic account of himself. But in reality, UFC 128 was the Jon Jones show. It was singularly a moment for his baptism and ascendancy.
Here's ESPN's account of last night's action:
Leland Roling thinks Jones is so good that him going undefeated seems very possible:
Nobody is unbeatable in this sport. It's been proven time and time again that mixed martial arts is a sport that is far too unpredictable to consistently win at the highest level. But Jones has the opportunity to prove that adage wrong, and perhaps prove that he's one of the greatest athletes of all-time across all sports. This may be a different story if Jones were an older fighter, but the fact that he's attained the highest crown in the sport at only 23 years old makes this a very real possibility.
Mike Fagan wonders who out there can even really compete with the kid:
Jones victory was so dominant, so persuasive that looking past his expected bout with Rashad Evans, past the entire light heavyweight division is a natural reaction. With the manner that he's dominated the entire light heavyweight division thus far, what can we expect Evans, a smaller, less complete wrestler to offer? How can we expect a passive, soft-hitting Lyoto Machida to threaten him? Can an unevolved Quinton Jackson even keep up?
I don't like Evans' chances very much. A fight I want to see? Jones vs. UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez. I think someone has to be able to control real estate and challenge his wrestling. But it turns out people are more interested in a potential fight with Anderson Silva. BloodyElbow has more:
"I don't want to see Rashad Evens and Jones I want to see Silva vs. Jones"
And apparently, Dana White is also starting to consider it. He talked about the super-fight on the post-fight presser:
Dana: "About 75 people" have already suggested an Anderson-Bones super-fight... "Anderson is clear that he doesn't want to fight at 205, but maybe now that Jones is champ, we'll see."
It's surely not going to sell as much as a potential bout against the mega-star in St. Pierre, but I have to admit, the idea of seeing the two face off is very appealing.
I still think the fact that he's never been hurt is a bit of a red flag. Part of what Fedor Emelianeko so dominant in his run was the reputation he built for gutting through stern tests. He was battle tested. Jones is battle tested, too, but as a measure of offensive capability. There's still an open question of resilience and bearing under attack. The light heavyweight star is facing unassailably legitimate opposition.
Although, there's a little to the Anderson Silva quality of not having to be overly concerned with grit to Jones' game. Yes, Silva took a beating against Chael Sonnen, but he generally does not take much damage in fights. He's dominating offensively and when he isn't, he evasive and hard to score on. Jones is eerily similar to Silva in that regard.
All of this reminds me of Georges St. Pierre's emergence as the boy wonder in MMA several years ago. He looked good in early UFC performances against key competition like Karo Parisyan, Jason Miller, Sean Sherk and others. I remember the Frank Trigg win as something of a coming out party for St. Pierre. He didn't just beat Trigg, he throttled him in every facet of the game with ruthless efficiency. Jones in the 2011 light heavyweight George St. Pierre.
More on this throughout the day.