With Jon Jones' victory on Sunday night, he proved to be a legit threat to the UFC's light heavyweight division. Vladimir Matyushenko may not carry the same weight in the casual fans mind as a Rampage or Machida, but was still a real test to the rising Jones. For "Bones" to have dispatched of "The Janitor" so quickly, and seemingly effortlessly, proved the Jon Jones, is ready. Even in such a short fight "Bones" was still able to be exciting, landing a spinning back kick, and giving the fans want they wanted. However, how will Jones' success effect the UFC's light heavyweight division.
Even with such an impressive win, Dana White and the UFC won't give Jones a title shot right away, but instead probably give him two more fights against top tier opponents. Let's talk about who could be available for "Bones" next. There is always fan favorite Forrest Griffin, but I don't see that fight going well for Griffin, I see it going much like the Bonnar fight. The UFC could also pair Jones up with the winner of the Machida vs Rampage fight. Both of those fighters pose a real challenge for Jones. Against Machida, Jones would see another unorthodox striker, who is also elusive and hard to get a hold of. So the quick take him down and ground and pound we saw on Sunday may not be an option. Against Rampage, Jones would have fight someone who is stronger, with great boxing and wrestling skills. Remember, that Rampage out wrestled Dan Henderson in his first title defense, so I think Jonny would have to use his speed and athleticism much like Rashad did in his fight with Rampage. For me though, the next logical step for Jones, would be to have him fight the winner of Lil' Nog vs Ryan Bader. This will give Jones a top level fight, but not yet the likes of Machida or Rampage. This will allow Jones again to test himself, but still grow as a fighter.
With Jones' success though, there is a problem, and a growing trend in MMA. What if he wins? Great...right? Well what if Rashad Evans beats "Shogun" Rua? Jon Jones said himself on Sunday night, he would fight any top guy except for his training partner, Evans. Not too long ago we were all calling for Lyoto Machida to fight Anderson Silva, and they both said that they would not. Then you all the guys at the AKA camp in the welterweight division (Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck, and Mike Swick) who are unwilling to fight each other. What is Dana White going to do if "Bones" continues to win in exciting devastating fashion and Rashad Evans is the champion.
I get it, the training, the brotherhood, and the bonding that all happens on the mat together. The biggest mistake that all these camps make is calling each other teammates. This is not a team sport, they are training partners, and this is a solitary sport, as well as a business. There is an argument that MMA is not a solitary sport, because it takes an entire training camp with all the necessary partners to get a fighter ready, however I feel a fighter should fight whoever is put in front of them. Because of the growing teams in MMA we probably won't see Jones vs Evans, but what a fight it would be.
Written by Keith Talarico of MMAbadass.com
Originally posted on the FightLaunch.com MMA Blog.