Jon “Bones” Jones is scheduled to defend his UFC Lightweight crown in May but is this the fight he finally loses and is Anthony “Rumble” Johnson the value play in our UFC picks?
The Teflon King
I have seen this movie play out dozens of times before and the older I get the more accustomed I am to the inevitable ending. The Teflon champion with the larger than life personality appears invincible rendering all who oppose him vanquished until the fateful day when the edge has abruptly dulled and the mighty sword once so steely rusts before our very eyes. Think Iron Mike Tyson before his demise in Tokyo at the hands of a 33-1 shot named James Buster Douglas. Or before that it was the indomitable Muhammad Ali who was stunned by Smokin’ Joe Frazier at Madison Square Garden in what was dubbed the Fight of the Century that saw his pristine 31-0 record come to a screeching halt.
More contemporarily and in the realm of MMA there is no greater example of a living legend stopped dead in his tracks than Anderson Silva. We saw the cracks in the armor at UFC 117 when the Spider, installed as a -450 favorite in UFC odds, morphed from soon to be former UFC Middleweight champ into Houdini when he snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and miraculously hooked in a triangle armbar that ultimately submitted the cage savvy Chael Sonnen with less than two minutes remaining in the fight. It took over two years but Silva was subsequently dispatched by the current middleweight champion Chris Weidman not once but twice.
But even the legendary Anderson Silva had a few blemishes on his record before he rose to the apex of mixed martial arts. Jon Bones Jones has only one defeat but even the casual UFC fan knows that the loss was a result of a disqualification due to the outlawed “midnight-to-six” elbow strikes he levied upon the already bloodied and battered skull of a beaten Mark Hamill. Thus, in reality no one has been able to defeat Jones inside the Octagon despite a valiant attempt by Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165. Right now he is the Mike Tyson of the 1980’s; at times surly, full of bravado and always polarizing. Jon Jones is the irresistible force for which there is to date, no immovable object.
Storm Clouds Looming?
Subsequent to his most recent title defense in which he manhandled top contender Daniel Cormier, reports trickled out that he had tested positive for benzoylecgonine, the primary metabolite in cocaine. This random drug test was administered over a month before his fight with Cormier. He was tested a week later and all traces of the drug had vanished. Apparently a night (or nights) of hard partying didn’t affect his sublime performance against the previously undefeated Olympian Daniel Cormier. Jones was his at his ferocious best and although he did not finish Cormier his performance was so dominating that it left no doubt that his skills were as razor sharp as ever.
But the question remains whether Jones is guilty of a bad decision or the victim of a bad habit. According to Jones he is the former, "...I'm not a cocaine addict by any means or not even a frequent user. I just made a really dumb decision and got caught with my pants down in this whole situation."
Jones will get the opportunity to prove exactly that at UFC 187 where he will face the explosive Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. As of this writing Jones has been installed as a -259 betting favorite in UFC odds at Pinnacle. Johnson is equipped with dynamite in both hands as evidenced by his 13 KO’s in 19 victories but he is also the owner of four losses, one of which was at the hands of Vitor Belfort who was submitted by Jones at UFC 152. Johnson has a punchers chance but Jon Jones will undoubtedly prevail as he has on 22 previous occasions.
At 27-years-old Jones is in the prime of his career and we may never again see the likes of a fighter who is so thoroughly gifted both on the mat and standing up. The man is the equivalent of the mythical Saturday Night Live land-shark, adept at devouring any opponent, any time and at their own game. But Jones is human and if he becomes complacent and revels in his own press clippings or succumbs to the temptation of drugs and alcohol it will inevitably be his downfall. If and when that happens there will be more than a few who will cheer the overthrow of the mightiest MMA king who ever lived.