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Although not without controversy, Jon Jones has been dominant his entire career. Almost. One fighter he wasn’t able to manhandle was Alexander Gustafsson. Expect “Bones” to attempt to erase any doubts when he faces “The Mauler” for a second time on Dec. 29 at UFC 232. Let these career-defining moments remind you why Jones is the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s most dominant light heavyweight.
Quick RiseWith seven fights in his debut year, it almost felt like Jones was purposely fast tracking his career. He ‘s had a string of devastating finishes, one of which afforded him the USKBA light heavyweight title. That’s all in a span of 12 months. Jones made his debut on April 12, 2008 in a regional event in Boxborough, Massachusetts, and around three months later, he got the big call from the UFC. Jones was tapped to replace Tomasz Drwal and face undefeated Andre Gusmao at UFC 87. Needless to say, Jones did not disappoint and put up an all-around performance that shut down the Brazilian in all three rounds.
Elbow of DeathJones unleashes elbows to hurt his opponents as other fighters would learn upon facing him. Fans first caught a glimpse of his deadly spinning elbows right from his debut, and it would continue as his career progressed. Perhaps the most iconic of instances was when he landed one on Stephan Bonnar at UFC 94. That time, Jones was a virtual unknown seemingly getting fed to a high-profile opponent. But as it turned out, Jones confused his opponent with his superior grappling and unorthodox striking for a unanimous decision victory.
Overwhelming the OverwhelmingIn his early UFC bouts, Jones defeated opponents he wasn’t supposed to beat on paper. It all started with Bonnar, who was already a nine-fight UFC veteran best known for his landmark bout with Forrest Griffin. But Jones trounced Bonnar as what he did to the likes of Jake O'Brien, Brandon Vera and Vladimir Matyushenko. The only loss of his career came from a disqualification after hitting Matt Hamill with an illegal elbow.
Capturing the TitleAdding to the list of fighters critics predicted would give Jones a tough time was Mauricio Rua, whom he faced for the UFC light heavyweight belt at UFC 128. Any doubts about his capacity to deal with top-level competition were laid to rest when he destroyed the former Pride Fighting Championships light heavyweight king and newly crowned UFC champion. The end came in round 3 when Jones landed a left to the body and a knee that dropped the Brazilian for good.
Making HistoryThe list of challengers to Jones’ belt reads like a who’s who of the promotion’s light heavyweight division. He defended the title in dominant fashion from five former UFC champions, namely Quinton Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, Vitor Belfort and Daniel Cormier, as well as top contenders such as Chael Sonnen, Gustafsson, Glover Teixeira and Ovince St. Preux. Jones holds the record for the most consecutive title defenses in UFC light heavyweight history with eight.
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