Saturday, March 19, 2011

Jon Jones, phenom

Watch this great profile of 23 year old MMA phenom Jon Jones, who will fight Shogun Rua for the LHW (205) title later today.

Anyone who has watched Jones fight knows he is incredibly talented. His background is wrestling -- he gave up a scholarship to Iowa State when he started his pro career. I notice he hits a lot of Judo throws in his fights. Most fans think those are greco throws but they aren't -- he's using his legs, which is illegal in greco. When I investigated this, expecting to find that he had trained in Judo as many wrestlers have, I was amazed to discover that he taught himself using internet videos!

Las Vegas Sun: ... Widely regarded as an unorthodox and unpredictable fighter, Jones has built his style based on what he's learned in the gym from instructors and what he's taught himself using methods like YouTube.

While it's known that Jones comes from a Greco-Roman wrestling background, he's evolved that style into his own by combining it with moves he's picked up from studying judo on the Internet.

"A lot of the moves I'm performing aren't actually Greco-Roman, they're judo," Jones said. "You can't use a trip in Greco-Roman. I don't have an official judo coach but I've been, it sounds weird, getting on the Internet and watching a lot of Judo moves. I take it seriously."

This highlight video shows some nice throws, including by Jones.

Is Jones ready for Rua? The biggest question in my mind is whether Rua is fully recovered from knee surgery. If he is, he could give Jones a tough fight, maybe even a beatdown. Rua is a legend, but are his best days behind him? This is one of the most exciting match ups in some time.


Pincher said...

Good Lord. Jon Jones beats up elite fighters like he is a schoolyard bully taking some nerds' lunch money.

When I saw the 21-year-old Jones take apart Stephan Bonnar for three rounds, I knew he would be champion some day. But I had no idea he would become one so quickly or in such dominating fashion.

Poor Shogun. He is one of the greatest fighters alive, but he looked outmatched in every aspect of the fight game tonight. Jones played with him on the ground and, even more surprisingly, on the feet. Jones wasn't even breathing hard at the end of the fight when he finally broke Shogun.

The only disappointing part of this victory is that Jones now doesn't have a serious rival in his weight class who can push him to greater excellence. I would say he's even more dominating at 205 than Anderson Silva is at 185. Who can hang with Jones for five rounds? Machida? Rampage? His teammate Rashad Evans, who is scheduled to fight him next? Not a chance. Can Anderson Silva move up to 205 and challenge Jones? I doubt it. If Chael Sonnen could ride Spider for four-and-a-half rounds at 185, then Jon Jones is going to murder him from the top position at 205.

Perhaps Jones should go up to heavyweight. He certainly has the frame for it. At least in that weight class, he'll find some guys his own size who might give him a battle.

steve hsu said...

Not sure Shogun was on his game after the long layoff and knee surgery. He may be in long term decline due to all the wear and tear. He also should be fighting at 185.

Nevertheless, Jones is amazing. It's interesting that he wasn't any good at basketball or football. I think he has two brothers (both bigger than him) who play in the NFL.

I would take Jones over Silva at 205. But I think Silva is actually not that big a middleweight -- I think he's only 195 or so before his water cut. GSP has no size excuse for not stepping up against AS.

Sidd Finch said...

"GSP has no size excuse for not stepping up against AS. "

He easily cuts to 185 seems like a decent excuse. What have you seen that suggest GSP is dodging an AS fight?

steve hsu said...

I suspect he is ambivalent about taking the fight, which he would (in my opinion) likely lose.

GSP on fight night is probably around 185 and Anderson is maybe 195. So it's not a big difference. If GSP puts on 5 lbs of muscle and they have it at a catch weight of 180 or so then it seems pretty fair.

But back to the main point, Jones is a lot bigger than AS. Jones cuts water from about 217 and a 217 lbs AS is fat.

Pincher said...

I don't have much interest in watching a GSP/Silva fight. I think that either Spider blitzes through GSP's standup and questionable chin or the fight becomes a competitive but dull grappling match that goes five rounds to a lackluster decision. In neither case will the fight live up to the hype.

GSP is a great fighter and superb athlete. He always seems to have a smart strategy to maximize his strengths and his opponents' weaknesses. His outstanding wrestling ability can determine where the fight takes place. His standup is technical and efficient. He is certainly good enough to outstrike most grapplers he faces, which describes most of his opponents at 170, and his grappling ability will overwhelm any striker he faces.

But I don't see GSP making an easy transition to 185, especially if his first fight at that weight class is against Anderson Silva. GSP is a great fit at 170, but the key to his success at that weight is his wrestling and top control, and I don't think he can do that nearly as easily at 185. Spider has nothing to fear from GSP's standup, but GSP won't have an easy time of it in establishing his customary top control against someone with the length and experience of Silva.

Sidd Finch said...

I just don't see the difference between GSP/AS and AS/Jones. They all look great for their weight class to me.

steve hsu said...

This is getting into fine details, but fight night weights are probably:

GSP 185+
AS 195
Jones 220

So, despite what most fans think, AS is closer in weight to a big WW like GSP than he is to a big LHW like Jones.

Having said all that, I would love to see AS fight either of those other guys.

Sidd Finch said...

It's easier for AS to put on muscle than for GSP to get taller and longer. I'd love to see a fight with any 2 also, but I'm not sure it's in MMA's best interest, e.g. Pride.

Pincher said...

I included the Griffin/Rampage photo for comparison.

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