COMMENTARY| Whether or not you agree that Jon Jones actually won his fight versus Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165, he certainly won over some of the haters with his gutsy performance. However, in the process he lost his illusion of invincibility.
Mixed martial artists are usually judged like football teams. When they win their flaws are ignored, when they lose their flaws are over critiqued. Jones had been defeating top competition in impressive fashion leading up to UFC 165, but there were signs in those fights that he might not have been as far ahead of the pack as he once was..
Starting with the Quinton Jackson fight, "Bones" appeared more reserved in the Octagon, and less capable of dominating with takedowns and ground and pound. Lyoto Machida outstruck him for a round before getting tapped out. Rashad Evans was able to keep their fight standing, but couldn't get in on his lanky opponent. Vitor Belfort was the first to almost catch Jones in a submission.
It's always difficult to determine if an elite fighter is showing flaws or his or her opponent is showing strengths. Nobody is perfect, and at the highest level each match-up offers a unique challenge.
On Saturday Jones' flaws were exposed against a fighter capable of putting together a performance impressive enough to beat him. He couldn't land takedowns, was consistently beaten to the punch, and was never able to impose his unique brand of ground and pound. Those particular judges didn't score it for Gustafsson, but there's little argument that different judges could have.
Fedor Emelianenko showed many flaws leading up to his fall from grace, but they were mostly ignored because of his resilience and past reputation for overcoming adversity. There are too many factors to determine exactly why Jones delivered the performance he did at UFC 165. Maybe it was his foot injury; maybe Gustafsson is just that good; maybe the weaknesses he showed leading up to this fight are catching up to him.
For the first time since winning the light heavyweight belt Jon Jones looks human, which is fitting since his walkout shirt read "Not Quite Human." He's certainly still one of best fighters in the world, but the illusion of his invincibility was shattered at UFC 165.
- Sports & Recreation
- Martial Arts
- Jon Jones
- Alexander Gustafsson