How cool is this? Video has finally surfaced of the mixed martial arts debut of UFC light heavyweight sensation Jon Jones. I'll explain later in the post why this is such a special treat, but watch the video below. Be sure to pay attention to a signature Jones technique about halfway through the match:
So who found this video? It turns out the guy who provided play-by-play commentary managed to get this fight on YouTube. Miraculously, he found it only by going through leftover belongings after a house fire:
[Jones' fight] was the one and only fight promoter Mike True was interested in watching when I delivered the final DVD to his home weeks later and as we both watched, we knew we were seeing a prospect worth keeping an eye on.
It was my first MMA play-by-play experience and I cringe at certain aspects of my commentary now. Maybe I talked too much at times, perhaps the comparisons to Anderson Silva were hyperbole at the time and my broadcast partner Mark Chaupetta certainly unnecessarily criticized Jones for a legal kick to Bernard's mid section while he was on the ground at the end of the fight. Without the benefit of live instant replay (that would be added in post production), we thought the kick at the end may have come slightly after the fight was stopped.
But here it is - from a DVD I thought I lost and only recently discovered while going through old boxes after a house fire: It's the pro debut of Jon Jones.
The throw Jones landed actually wasn't a suplex, but a lateral drop. In fact, it was the same lateral drop from double underhooks that Jones managed to land on Stephan Bonnar.
As Jones is on the eve of fighting for arguably MMA's most prestigious title at UFC 128, and doing so less than three years after his MMA debut, one can only be filled with awe. Athletes of other sport are often viewed from the moment they're post-pubescent, just beginning to show their athletic potential. In MMA, however, we often miss those moments. They're lost in obscurity. Amateur wrestling and regional MMA, after all, aren't properly documented phenomena. And knowing who is a prospect early without them having an incredibly prestigious background in another sport is nearly impossible to tell.
Except with Jon Jones. No one could've predicted he'd be fighting Mauricio "Shogun" Rua in this amount of time, but even from his first MMA fight he was special. Jones is different and this video, a rare treat, is a testament to his uniqueness.
As for Brad Bernard, the poor sap who faced Jones in this fight, according to the Sherdog.com Fight Finder he never competed again. My how their paths diverged on that fateful night.