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Jon Jones passes the Maturity Test at UFC 128
We all love stories about fighters who go against the odds, and end up winning. However, yesterday’s UFC 128 was slightly different. Jon Jones was not fighting against the odds. No. Jones was fighting to prove he deserves the hype behind him, and the betting odds that put him up as a favorite against the more experienced Shogun Rua.
But it’s not just about the betting odds coming to this fight.
At the age of just 23 years old, Jon Jones had to deal with a tremendous amount of pressure coming to this fight. Taking a title fight on short notice, Spike TV’s “In the Moment” special, Rashad Evans‘ departure from Greg Jackson’s, horrendous UFC 128 pre-fight presser, and finally the robber he disarmed just couple of hours before the fight.
That’s why yesterday, above all things, Jones proved he passed the Maturity Test to become a Champion. Jon Jones’ maturity manifested in the way he fought last night. He was not tempted to finish Rua early. Instead, Jones decided to put up a continuous beating on the Champ during the first two rounds, breaking his will, and finally finishing the fight in Round 3. Shogun Rua tapped out to strikes, in a moment that perfectly defined how helpless he was during the fight.
In other sports, such as Soccer for instance, young and talented players are heavily protected by their coaches, who make sure the bright light of media attention and celebrity status doesn’t corrupt their product. Jon Jones walked into this bright light, and returned with the UFC Light Heavyweight Title on his shoulder.
The next test for Jon Jones will be in whether he manages to defend his title. UFC Light Heavyweight Division is highly unstable when it comes to Champion’s identity, as only a few of previous title holders managed to successfully defend their strap. But for now, Jon Jones truly deserves all the praise for his glorious performance. It was a true joy to watch for any MMA fan out there.
Cover Photo: Heavy.com