UFC light heavyweight Jon (Bones) Jones displayed superior speed and striking skills last Saturday in New Jersey as he subdued an audacious foe. Then, a few hours later, he entered the Octagon and beat the bejesus out of his opponent to become the youngest belt holder in UFC's 17-year history.
In keeping with his prefight routine, Jones, 23, was meditating in a Paterson, N.J., park on Saturday afternoon, a few hours before his much-anticipated UFC 128 title fight against Mauricio (Shogun) Rua. Jones's reverie was interrupted when he heard an elderly woman cry out that her car had been broken into. Along with his coaches, Jones gave chase. When Jones caught up with the thief, he used a footsweep to drop him to the ground. Then, while waiting for police to arrive, Jones delivered a lecture on the evils of crime.
Neither shaken nor stirred, Jones returned to meditating. Then he more or less replicated his performance later that night at Newark's Prudential Center. Relying on superior size and athleticism, the 6'4" Jones dominated Rua with a tasting menu of kicks, punches, knees and elbows. After the ref mercifully stopped the fight in Round 3, UFC president Dana White wondered aloud, "What else could a guy do in a day?"
Apart from his superhero deeds, Jones is also an exemplar of the UFC's growing influence. An outstanding athlete who grew up in upstate New York, Jones figured to emulate his brothers and play football—Arthur, 24, is a Ravens defensive tackle; Chandler, 21, plays defensive end for Syracuse. He was drawn instead to MMA and often taught himself techniques via YouTube. A pro since 2008, he has lost only once—a DQ—and is suddenly the sport's hottest star. Next, he will defend his belt against Rashad Evans, a former training partner. When a date and place is announced—well, evildoers in the area had better beware!