Jon Jones is considered by many to be the best pound-for-pound fighter on planet Earth. He recently defended his title for the fifth time, tying Tito Ortiz on the list of most successful title defenses in the Light Heavyweight division (5). His record shows one loss, but that came as a result of an illegal elbow thrown after he knocked his opponent out. Aside from that blemish on his record, he has dominated the Light Heavyweight division with absolute ease with an 18-1 record. During his latest fight against Chael Sonnen, he won with a first round knockout in a display of physical dominance. Here are the reasons why he is the best.
One of Jon Jones’ advantages as a fighter is his reach. He stands at 6’4” and has an 84.5-inch reach, which dwarfs the average reach of fighters in his weight class by (on average) 10 inches. This gives him a distinct striking advantage, as he can pick his opponents off without any real fear of getting into their range. When you combine his reach with his devastating muay Thai, you’re left with the most dangerous striker alive.
However, his reach doesn’t only help him with his stand up game. It also makes his jiu-jitsu even more deadly by giving him the ability to sink chokes and submissions unobtainable by his shorter-armed counter parts. Simply put: whether you want to stand and trade with Jones or attempt to roll with him, you will have trouble.
Another advantage that genetics have allowed Jones is his pure athleticism. He comes from a family of athletes, with two brothers in the NFL – and the genes for that athleticism did not skip him. America’s best athletes are pushed into football as children and subsequently end up in the NFL. Jon Jones is the rare case of a fighter with NFL athleticism, along with high-end training in wrestling, muay Thai, and jiu-jitsu.
You don’t need to see him run a 40-yard dash or do the broad jump to understand his athleticism. Purely through the eye test, he passes as one of Americans top athletes. When he is pitted against another fighter, it appears that he is matched up against a pre-pubescent boy. He simply imposes his will on any man that stands in front of him in the octagon. After he knocked out Chael Sonnen in the first round in UFC 159, Sonnen said, “I thought I could keep up with him. I was very surprised at his power and his size.”
Jones has toppled some the best fighters that the UFC has to offer and made it look easy. The fights don’t just look unchallenging – they actually are.
If fighting against Jones isn’t difficult enough, he also has a very unorthodox way of fighting. In a fight against Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, he actually came out crawling on all four limbs, grabbing at Rampage’s ankles. Jones won that fight via rear naked choke and was the first person in the UFC to finish Rampage Jackson.
Jones’ unorthodox fighting style makes him very difficult for fighters to attack him, while also making it difficult for them to defend Jones’ attacks. His opponents are unable to predict his striking. This unpredictability makes it easier for Jones to land solid shots and makes it difficult for his opponents to ever be comfortable in the octagon.
Jon Jones has no recorded sweeps in the UFC, but that’s because he’s never needed to do any sweeps. In fact, Jon Jones has never been taken down in the UFC. Despite fighting excellent wrestlers, he has never been put on his back and it doesn’t look like he is going to be. It is nearly impossible not to be taken down in the UFC, but Jon Jones has succeeded in this where everyone else has failed. If you ever find yourself thrown in the octagon with Jones, then try striking. He’s only avoided 67% of strikes thrown his way, as opposed the 100% of takedowns attempted on him.
Probably one of Jones’ best tools is intimidation. It is easy to be intimidated by a guy that has laid waste to fighters such as Ryan Bader, Rashad Evans, Rampage Jackson, Lyoto Machida, and Mauricio Rua. Many of the fighters that fight Jones are already psychologically beaten before they enter the octagon.
If you’re not scared of Jones, then you still have to deal with the physical monster that is Jonny ‘Bones’ Jones. Sonnen wasn’t afraid, but maybe he should have been. He got thrown around like a rag doll against Jones. However, being confident is likely your only realistic tool that can help you beat Jones. Those who think they can’t win, definitely cannot.
Jones’ has all of the physical and psychological advantages of fighting. Without really touching on his mental knowledge of the fight game, we already listed plenty of reasons why Jones is the best. However, it was really said best by Chael Sonnen prior to his April 27th bout with Jones when he stated:
“As great as Jon is, I don’t think that he understands how good he is. For him to pay tribute to Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali earlier was a very nice thing for him to do. The reality is Jon Jones could beat up Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali in the same day.“