Flashback Fight: Jon Jones ushers in era of dominance in UFC debut

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  • Jon Jones
    Jon Jones
    American mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter
Jon Jones UFC debut screaming over fight photo
Jon Jones UFC debut screaming over fight photo

Remember when Jon Jones was just 6-0 and first stepping foot into the Octagon? Neither do we. But let's get a refresher.

The beginnings of the Jon Jones era

Jones emerged out of the Northeastern U.S. regional mixed martial arts scene on Aug. 9, 2008, to make his UFC debut. He fought his first UFC bout opposite André Gusmao, who was also making his Octagon debut after going 5-0 to start his career, which included four victories in the team-oriented International Fight League (IFL).

At 21 years of age, Jones was a decade younger than Gusmao when they fought on the UFC 87 preliminary fight card in Minneapolis, Minn. Jones, however, was already showing that blistering pace and attacks from all angles that has made him one of the most dominant fighters in UFC history.

Jon Jones: dominant UFC champ, troubled soul

Now 32 years old, Jones is 26-1 (1 no contest). His only loss was a controversial disqualification when he landed a downward elbow strike on Matt Hamill in a fight he was dominating.

Jones became the UFC light heavyweight champion and has defended the belt 11 times overall. He also hold the distinction of having been stripped of the belt or some version of it on three separate occasions. He was stripped of the belt in 2015 after violating the UFC's Athlete Code of Conduct policy following an arrest for felony hit and run. Jones was stripped in 2016 and 2017 after testing positive to banned substances.

Jones most recently reclaimed the UFC light heavyweight title when he defeated Alexander Gustafsson on Dec. 29, 2018. He finished Gustafsson in the third round of their headlining rematch. Jones went on to defend the belt three times over the ensuing 14 months.

In the early morning hours of March 26, 2020, Jones was again arrested. He was charged with aggravated DWI, negligent use of a firearm, possession of an open container, and driving with no proof of insurance. He pleaded guilty to the DWI charge on March 31 in exchange for a deal that resulted in the other charges being dropped. Jones was sentenced to four days house arrest, one year of supervised probation, at least 90 days of outpatient therapy, and he must complete 48 hours of community service.

With the UFC currently sidelined along with other sports across the globe because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is unclear when Jones might return to the Octagon. UFC officials have not addressed whether or not he would maintain his status as light heavyweight champion.

(Courtesy of UFC)

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