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Thursday, 08/30/2012, 12:12 pm

Jon Jones, Anderson Silva vs The World | Editorial

In recent times, UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones has been taking a lot of heat for his “fake” personality, run in with the law, and how he conducts his “business”.

As we all know by now, Jones has declined to fight Chael Sonnen for the 205-pound title on short notice as a replacement for the injured Dan Henderson. As a result, the entire UFC 151 card has been cancelled.

Everyone wants to blame someone for the first UFC cancelled event in history. We’re either pointing our fingers at the UFC for producing such a weak card that the show couldn’t go on without its main event, Greg Jackson for advising Jones to play it safe, or Jones himself for ultimately making the executive decision of denying Sonnen the opportunity to prove he’s not all talk.

Either way Dana White is pissed, as usual. The fans hate Jones, as usual. We’re not getting the card we were planning on, as usual. And everyone including White thinks Greg Jackson makes fighters play it too safe, as usual.

So why is their so much drama around this event? One name comes to mind: Jon Jones.

People love to hate him. I’m not exactly sure why. Is it his “fake personality”? Is it his quick rising success and huge sponsorship deals? Or is he simply a champion that people want to see dethroned?

UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva was in a somewhat similar position a few years back. After Silva vs Maia happened at UFC 112, there was a backlash from fans against Silva’s unsportsman like conduct inside the cage. Mostly I think because Silva bullied rather than butchered Maia in a fight that he clearly had the upper hand in.

When Chael Sonnen appeared to be the number one contender for the 185-pound title, he started his trash talking and fans rallied behind him instead of “The Spider”.

Silva was no longer the clear fan favorite, simply because of one incident. He didn’t seem to be Dana White’s favorite either, as the witty English speaking marketing machine of Chael Sonnen drowned out Silva’s rebuttals. Nor was he a favorite of a good chunk of the fans that wanted to see someone who they saw as a bully in Silva, get taught a lesson by someone who could talk the talk.

We all know how that first fight ended.

Fast forward two years and Chael Sonnen has another shot at the now deemed “legend” in Silva. People still want Chael Sonnen to win.

The forums are crowded with “gangster” quotes, sarcastic jokes, and wrestling fanatics that want to see the champ beaten up for five rounds, again.

Well that didn’t really work out. Anderson Silva shuts up the trash talking gangster, beats his face decisively, and yet critics still question if the knee was illegal or if the short grabbing was the reason for his victory.

Silva has moved on. You might want to too. He is now pitted against GSP in what fans hope to be a super fight for the record books. Two long time champions vs each other. Canada vs Brazil. Wrestling vs Striking. Sounds pretty epic. Only one more person to fight in the world for Silva, the world of MMA at least. Now what happened to Sonnen? He needs a new target. Bring on Jon Jones.

Poor Jones doesn’t have the trash talking ability to match his octagon talent and Sonnen knows it. Let the field day begin.

After a long list of personal attacks via Twitter, Chael Sonnen says he hasn’t been training at all, but will fight Jones regardless for the title. So even if Jones does win, he beat an “out of shape” Chael Sonnen, but has the opportunity to shut up one of the biggest MMA icons and probably retire Sonnen for good.

However, if Jones loses, he loses to an “out of shape” Chael Sonnen, and every single person on this planet that wanted to see him fail will say something along the lines of “told you so”. Even if the fight is close and Jones loses via split decision, anti-fans will probably not believe he could beat Sonnen ever again.

Sounds like a sticky situation for the champ. Sonnen, Machida, Belfort? Sounds like a lot of big names. Jones is still fighting the world. Just like Anderson Silva has already done, besides GSP. Silva had to battle all his opponents, the critics, the anti-fans, the media, and his biggest rival in Sonnen.

It appears Jones will have to do much of the same, with the added cloud of his legal troubles in his past and the scrutinizing eye of the ever growing MMA media.

I have a feeling Jones, much like Silva, will have to battle Sonnen in order to defeat the world. But first, he has to get through a very dangerous Vitor Belfort. A fighter, I find to be a little more of a wild card than Sonnen.

The question is, will Jones be able to fight the world, remain victorious, be declared a legend that has overcome adversity, and be considered for a super fight to end all fights, much like Silva? Or will he just be another name in the book of champions?

Time will tell. As a fan of the sport, I can’t wait to see the rise or fall of a champion. Can you?

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