As the dust settles on UFC 128 I’ve seen many people who have been quick to suggest that the UFC Light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones is an example of a ‘next generation’ fighter or is displaying ‘MMA 2.0’ skills, but I actually think he’s better than that.
I believe it’s wrong to suggest that what we’re seeing from Jones is something that we should expect from more fighters in the next five or ten years.
Undoubtedly the talent-pool is going to improve as the sport becomes more popular and talented up and comers start training in the sport earlier and view a career in mixed martial arts as a viable alternative to other major sports like American Football, Basketball, Boxing, etc.
Having said that, I feel that Jones will still stand above the vast majority of them as something special.
Really, what we have with Jon ‘Bones’ Jones is, in effect, a perfect storm where natural ability, physical gifts, intelligence, creativity and a grounded, charismatic personality meet.
That’s a hard mix to replicate, and let’s not forget that Jones is still just 23 years-old, and has still only been competing for three years, so, as hard as it is to comprehend, the best is still to come.
On very rare occasions certain sportsmen transcend the normal boundaries we have set for an athlete: Michael Jordan in basketball, Pele in soccer or Muhammed Ali in boxing for instance, and even many years after they stop competing they still stand out as something unique and unparalleled.
There’s a long way to go yet, but watching Jones perform in the Octagon I can’t help but feel like we may be witnessing a fighter who has the potential to be that level of superstar for the sport of mixed martial arts.