Six years ago today, March 19th, at UFC 128, Jon Jones defeated Mauricio "Shogun" Rua via 3rd round TKO, obliterating him with knees and punches. At just 23 years old, Jon Jones became the youngest champion in the UFC's history, and he not only showed that he deserved the title shot, but that the hype surrounding him was as real as it gets.
Shogun Rua was supposed to defend his belt against Rashad Evans, but when an injury forced him off the card, Jones accepted the UFC's offer for the fight, and many people questioned whether or not a 23 year old kid could come in and hang with one of the sport's all time greats. He had dominated all of his previous fights in the UFC, aside from his only loss in his career, which was a Disqualification for controversial 12-6 Elbows against Matt Hamill, but there was still speculation around the young budding superstar.
At UFC 128, Jon Jones absolutely dominated Shogun, bringing it to him from the opening seconds, landing a flying knee right off the bat. The rest, as we know, is history. Jon went on to reign as the Light Heavyweight Division's Champion for 4-years, defending his belt 8 times, while also being the #1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world throughout.
Jon Jones has put on some of the most impressive performances we've seen in MMA throughout his career, and has absolutely asserted his name amongst the greatest fighters in history, and even though these past 2 years have not been good for Jon in any way shape or form as far as his legacy goes, at only 29 years old, there is more than enough time for Jon to come back, reclaim the belt that he held for so long, and be able to do it consistently and cleanly - inside the Octagon and out - and there's a good chance that Jon gets his spot atop the All-Time mountain of MMA. The things Jon Jones can do inside the Octagon are truly spectacular, beating every type of opponent in any type of way, and I am excited and hopeful for Jon's future, because it would be a damn shame if someone who truly has the highest ceiling in the history of MMA were to just fall off the map completely.
Enjoy these highlights
(And if you were to fall down a Youtube Rabbit-hole of Jon's fights, I would go with Jon vs. Alexander, vs. Vitor, & vs. Machida)