BROOMFIELD, Colo. — After his first-round destruction of Brandon Vera, it’s clear that Jon Jones is no longer a future prospect — he’s in the mix with the top light heavyweights in the world.
Jones, an unorthodox and incredibly talented fighter with a style unlike anyone else on the planet, controlled Vera from the outset of last night’s fight at “UFC on Versus”. Just seconds into the fight, Jones used one his trademark judo throws to hurl Vera to the mat. From that point on, Jones was never in danger, and ultimately landed a brutal elbow from the guard that caused Vera to cry out in pain and roll to his stomach. Jones landed several more punches before Herb Dean stopped the fight.
Jones said after the bout that the fight was a result of his detailed and exhaustive preparation. “I did a lot of studying while getting prepared for the fight. I found a book called ‘Living The Martial Way’ while getting ready. It talked about fighting from your core,” said Jones. “I knew Brandon was a good striker, so I had two striking coaches getting me ready for the fight. But it didn’t make any sense for me to go out there and have a Thai match with Brandon. I was prepared to strike with Brandon but wanted to fight from my core, which is my wrestling and judo game.”
Jones’ meticulous planning also extended into the film room. Jones said that he watched Vera’s fights fifty different times and saw several holes in his game that he could exploit. “I saw that his boxing defense wasn’t the best. When you’re closer to him, he can’t land those big power kicks, so I tried to stay in close,” said Jones. “He has also very bad judo defense, so I worked on sharpening that up. I wanted to overwhelm him with combinations and get my punching power up.”
Jones was a heavy favorite going into the fight, but few could have predicted that he would dominate Vera like nobody before him had been able to do. It was a star-making performance for a guy who many believed could be the future of the division. Ed Soares, manager for Anderson Silva, says that he can easily see comparisons being made between Jones and the reigning pound for pound king.
“I can definitely see a comparison to Anderson. He’s young and very good already, but knows he needs to improve,” said Soares. “He’s very quick, very strong and very intelligent. He has everything he needs to become an Anderson Silva.”
Dana White agrees. “The hype is warranted. Every time you see him fight, he gets better. The kid is a phenom,” said White. “He’s incredibly talented and he deserves the hype.”
White noted that the only thing that disappoints him is the loss to Matt Hamill. Jones manhandled Hamill during his last bout but was disqualified due to illegal elbow strikes. “The only thing that bums me out is that loss to Hamill. Stupid stuff like that drives me crazy,” said White.
Jones agrees that the loss haunts him. “People tell me that they hope I get him next time, and that bothers me. It feels like a loss because of the reaction I get from fans,” said Jones. “I want to make sure I know the rules of the game and come back smarter next time.”
White wouldn’t say who Jones will face next, but it’s apparent that he’s earned the right to face the best the division has to offer.