UFC 128: Could Jon Jones be the Usain Bolt of MMA?
On March 19th, Jon Jones will have his first shot at glory, facing the legendary UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at the main event of UFC 128 in Newark, New Jersey. If victorious, Jon Jones could become the youngest title holder in UFC history, at the age of just 23 (Smartass Alert: Vitor Belfort won the UFC Heavyweight Tournament, not the Heavyweight Title).
The fight against Shogun Rua will be an interesting clash of styles between two talented fighters. But there’s one area where Jon Jones has a clear advantage over the Brazilian veteran. A God-given physique.
Together with Anderson Silva, Jones’s physique always reminded me the one of Usain Bolt. Just like the Jamaican phenom, Jones is one of a kind athlete, who differs from the rest with a rare physical characteristics. He’s tall, lanky and has very long limbs. Jones’s 84.5-inch reach is unique not only for MMA, but for any other combat sports. In fact, the only fighter I know who has a longer reach is the former WBA Heavyweight Champion Nikolai Valuev (7-feet monster) with 91 inches.
But it’s not all about just having a great physique. There’s plenty of underachieving athletes who could easily make it to the cover of Men’s Fitness Magazine. It’s about how you use it.
Being 6ft 5 tall, at least on paper Usain Bolt should be slower than other sprinters at 100m. However, Bolt manages to use the length of his legs to his advantage, immediately building an unhuman record-breaking speed. And that’s also the greatest thing about Jon Jones. He’s surprisingly fast, intelligently using his body to create an incredible unorthodox style, with suplexes, elbows, high kicks and what’s not.
Jon Jones‘s road to UFC 128 was similar to Bolt’s magical 9.69sec sprint at 100m in Beijing. The Greg Jackson product made it look easy, beating opponent after opponent without breaking a sweat. His performances left a feeling of more to come. And just like Usain Bolt broke the record in Berlin with 9.58 seconds at 100m, I’m firmly confident that Jon Jones will be pushed to his limits and walk out of the Prudential Center with a belt around his waist.
And who if not Shogun Rua can push Jon Jones to his limits? Shogun already was where Jones is trying to get by winning the PRIDE 2005 Middleweight GP at the age of 23. The Brazilian has the necessary experience and mental strength to deal with someone like Jones. He faced some of the top fighters in the World, suffered from a serious injury but still managed to find his way back to the top. Rua and Jones are without a doubt currently the top two Light Heavyweights in the World, promising an epic encounter on March 19th.
Further reading: MMA Hotwire