UFC 165 – Jones Makes History and Answers Some Questions
Editor’s note: We are expanding our MMA coverage with the addition of Greg DeLong, host of the wildly popular “Inside the Cage” radio. In keeping with the rest of our staff, Greg is a Veteran. -RU Rob
By Greg DeLong
Saturday night at UFC 165 Jon Jones became the first Light Heavyweight in UFC history to defend the belt six times, breaking the old record of five held by Tito Ortiz. His fight with Alexander Gustafsson is a candidate for fight of the year. It was exciting, it was brutal and it kept everyone on the edge of their seat not only until the final bell but until the judges’ decision was read as well.
Some of the knocks you hear about Jon Jones are that we have never seen how he would handle adversity in a fight, what would he do if he was on his back and how would he do against a fighter with reach similar to his own. Truth be told, I only expected this fight to answer the last issue and not the first two. I thought Jones would handle “The Mauler” in a fashion similar to his previous opponents. Yea, I was WAY off on that thought.
Did Jones dominate, nope, but he won an extremely tough fight against a world class opponent and he did it with the heart of a champion and not because of size or talent. We saw him taken down and he bounced right back up. We saw him bleed and he didn’t panic. We saw him on his way to losing the fourth round, and possibly the fight, only to pull off a spinning elbow followed with devastating knees to win the round. In the end Jon Jones did what champions do, he found a way to win.
Regardless of what you think of Jon Jones, you have to respect his ability as a fighter. When a champion is involved in a “fight of the Year” type of battle and pulls out the victory we applaud their performance. Jon Jones deserves the same. He had his crucible this past weekend. It wasn’t easy, but he passed.
Where does that leave “Gus”? He actually “won” in this loss. His stock has shot up immensely and there is already talk of a rematch. I, for one, am not a fan of the immediate rematch just because a fight was close. Let’s let Glover Teixeira have his crack at the title and I would love to see Gustafsson rematch Phil Davis. If they both win those fights I am thinking July 4th 2014 week UFC for the rematch.
Renan Barao was, well, Rena Barao. He won. Something he has done every time (excluding a no contest) since his second fight in 2005. He has now defended the interim Bantamweight belt twice and both times he has finished his opponent. What is next for Renan? I would like to see the word interim removed from his title for two reasons. One, he has earned it. Second, I do not want to see a great fighter like Dominic Cruz thrown right into a meat grinder after a two plus year absence from the octagon. Yes, it sucks for Cruz. But look at it like this, Peyton Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time and he sat out of football for one year. When he finally came back he still wasn’t 100% and he also had a whole team around him for help. What he didn’t do was sit out TWO years and then start in the Super Bowl on his first game back. By naming Barao the champion Cruz can work his way back with a couple of fights to get rid of any ring rust.
Khabib Nurmagomedev (say that twelve times fast) is the real deal. Pat Healy is a tough, tough veteran that had no answer for KN. Nurmagomedev fights with a relentless style both standing and on the ground. He is exciting, undefeated, and a matchup with Rafael Dos Anjos would set the winner up for a title shot.
I don’t know about you, but I didn’t need to see the Schaub/Mitrione fight on the PPV card. Yes, they are heavyweights and everyone loves to see heavyweights bang. Plus they had that whole twitter feud going on as well. But neither of these fighters is anywhere near the top of the division and will probably never be up there. I get the entertainment aspect but the prelims on Fox Sports 1 would have been just fine for this fight.
Is Francis Carmont that good or did he just exploit Constantinous Philippou as a very one dimensional fighter? Carmont does need a step up in competition to see where he is really at. Maybe a Luke Rockhold when he comes back from injury or a solid grappler like Alan Belcher. Philippou will have to shore up his wrestling defense if he wants to remain relevant in the middleweight division.
And that is what I think about UFC 165.
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