Jon Jones vs Lyoto Machida: Will Jones become an all-time great?Posted on November 26, 2011, 11:10 PM by Trent Reinsmith
UFC Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones will face Lyoto Machida at UFC 140 on December 10 from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The fight against Machida will be Jones’ fourth in 2011, with none of the previous three having gone the distance. In fact, Jones has gone the distance only twice in his UFC career, in his first two fights. Jones’ opponent, Machida, a former UFC Light Heavyweight champion himself, is looking to capitalize on his last fight, a knockout win over Randy Couture at UFC 129.
Some have criticized the fact that Machida, who possesses a record of 1-2 in his last three fights, is getting a shot at Jones’ crown. While it may seem odd to give Machida a title shot after going 1-2, with that one win coming over a since retired Couture, it may have been the only fight that the UFC could have made. Rashad Evans was injured and could not fight, Dan Henderson and Mauricio Rua met at UFC 139 and Phil Davis is at least one fight away from fighting for the title. So, when you look at it that way it seems as if the UFC either had to go with Machida or put Jones on the shelf.
Despite the fact that Machida’s credentials as of late are not exactly glowing, he should prove to be a tough test for Jones. Machida creates space using his footwork, looking to use that space to counterstrike. If Machida can avoid Jones early and cause him to become frustrated and sloppy in his attack he can capitalize on the openings that will be left by Jones. With that being said, that is a pretty big if for Machida, considering Jones has been trained by one of the most calming influences in MMA, Greg Jackson.
If Jones can get past Machida he’ll most likely be looking at “Suga” Rashad Evans or perhaps Dan Henderson in his next fight, two very tough former champions. If Jones can run the table, defeating four (or five if he gets Evans and then Henderson or vice versa) former champions in a row it will go a long way toward establishing him as one of the all-time greats in the Light Heavyweight division.
If Jones does falter in any of these fights one thing that must be remembered is his age and the length of his career. Jones, at 24-years-old is less than four years into his professional MMA career. With that in mind, a loss in 2011-2012 will not be the end of the world, in fact, it may be a blessing in disguise, with the bump in the road serving as a reality check to the young champion.
What do you think LowKick'ers, is Jon Jones poised to become one of the all-time UFC greats?
Further Reading: UFC 140: Jon Jones vs. Lyoto Machida Extended Video Preview
Photo: UFC fighter Jon Jones before his fight against Vladimir Matyushenko at UFC-Live: Jones vs. Matyushenko at the San Diego Sports Arena on August 1, 2010, in San Diego, California. Francis Specker