To Dethrone Jones You Need But One Man
By Lewis Mckeever:
Long, wired and lanky in frame, with legs bare and thin like matchsticks. No, this isn’t the portrayal of a Jon Jones duplicate co-existing in the realms of an obscure alternate universe; this is the description of the best pound for pound fighter to ever grace Mixed Martial Arts competition. Anderson “The Spider” Silva is the only man capable of cracking the puzzle that is Jon “Bones” Jones.
Rashad Evans was touted as Jon Jones’ most challenging and personal obstacle to date, but instead, we witnessed the Blackzillian representative enter the octagon as a lifeless sparring dummy. Besides the two brief glimmers of success in rounds 1 and 3, where Rashad clipped Jones with a head kick and a looping over hand right, Jones decided to use his long-time rival as a tool for target practice. Greg Jackson’s prized possession exhibited a barrage of flamboyant striking techniques, tagging his former team mate with an array of kicks, elbows, knees and even shoulder stomps (oh the joys of watching Jon Jones continue to innovate his game).
Dan Henderson is next on the hit list. As much admiration as I have for the former Greco-Roman Olympian, I just can’t see how Hendo’s skill set meets the desired criteria for neutralising Jon Jones. On paper, things don’t look too shabby. Combining the legendary “H-Bomb” with Olympic level wrestling credentials is an appetite for destruction. The problem is fights don’t always play out like they appear on paper.
Although Dan is a proud owner of some of the most decorated wrestling accolades in the sport, they haven’t quite converted over to the MMA sphere as well as one would have imagined. How does an Olympic tier Greco-Roman specialist proceed to lose clinch based grappling exchanges against Shogun Rua? With all due respect to the former Chute Box berserker, Mauricio has never been renowned for his wrestling dexterity. As much as I loathe reminding myself, l also can’t just erase the Jake Shields fight from my database either.
Whenever I attempt to visualise the Jones/Henderson spectacle in my head, disturbing flashes of Jon Jones reigning down those signature elbows on a turtled up Dan Henderson corrupt my mind. Sorry Dan, but the H-Bomb, out dated wrestling credentials and a sub-par gas task just don’t cut it.
After Jones disposes of Hendo and “The Spider” tangles up Chael Sonnen into his web with another submission (or knocks his head into the upper tier rows of the arena), we, as fans, could be treated to one of the greatest showdowns in MMA history.
Anderson Silva has proven to be a deadly force in the 205 pound weight division. Although some time ago now, it’s impossible to forget the Matrix esque performance Anderson dazzled the MMA universe with against Forrest Griffin at UFC 101. Also worthy of note was his obliteration of James “The Sandman” Irvin.
One of the leading hindrances which Jon Jones’ opponents can never seem to wrap their heads around is the overwhelming reach advantage he utilizes so effectively. Stifling his foes with such a dynamic variation of striking attacks is one of Jones’ most prized assets, that and his overwhelming power in the clinch and on the ground. Black House ring leader Anderson Silva however, is a man all too familiar with the range, distance and striking game.
Jon Jones admits to mimicking Anderson Silva in the octagon, but right now, he still isn’t close to reaching the guru like levels of Anderson Silva’s stand up. “The Spider” possesses video game like timing and pinpoint accuracy with each and every strike he commits to. His understanding of distance and range is unheard of in MMA. The variation of strikes he utilises is also some-what awe inspiring. He can switch up his offense on the fly, employing either a Muay Thai based attack or shifting to a more boxing orientated approach. Jon Jones would be the one confused and stunned by Anderson Silva’s application of striking.
The middleweight champ is also as crafty as a rattle snake on the ground. While holes may be present in the wrestling and take down defence departments, Anderson makes up for such flaws with his cunning guard and submission skills. That’s the real talking point of this potential match-up. The question isn’t whether Mr Silva can adapt to Jon’s reach advantage, but whether his Brazilian Jujitsu prowess is strong enough to fend off Jones’ ruthless ground and pound assault. If Anderson is in fact capable of counteracting Jon’s nightmare like elbows on the ground, and is able to force the fight back to the feet, then “Bones” may very well be entering an entire world of pain.