After Jon Jones Will The Division Ever be the same?
Now before people take this up the wrong way, I think Jon Jones is a rare, rare talent and the greatest ever Light-heavyweight. But it is precisely this, that has brought ruin to the division.
Jones dominance is so profound that he reduced a division of killers to a pile of rubble with himself very much the king of the castle. The division was more exciting and unpredictable and just plain awesome, pre the Jones era. Now we, without doubt, are looking at one of the greatest fighters of all time. But the division has suffered for Jones`s greatness.
Now again, don`t get me wrong, greatness to the magnitude of Jones is to be applauded not sneered at. But in this case, a sense of loss comes to mind when thinking of the division pre-Jones and the constant changing of the belt. That meant any and all challengers had a chance to grasp that now elusive strap.
It was easily the most exciting division in the UFC with Shogun, Machida, Evans, Rampage, Griffin, and Liddell all vying for dominance. And then there was the newbies that promised so much, Ryan Bader and Phil Davis. Both prominent fighters that were caught in the shadow of Jones and could not get out.
Throw in Randy Couture and Tito Ortiz and that’s one hell of a weight-class. But all this couldn’t last and Jon Jones came along in what seemed like months. Took the belt and beat all comers to leave the division bare and searching for something new.
Fighters Who Could have Been UFC Champions
Glover Teixeira is a prime example of a fighter who would have been a possible champion at 205 just 3 or 4 years ago. But at UFC 172 he was outmatched by Jonny Bones and left battered and bruised and back down the rankings.
The middleweights, welterweights, and lightweights are taking the place of the marquee division as the most exciting and dynamic out there. Light-heavyweight has become what the middleweight division was under the dominant rule of Anderson Silva, interesting but not compelling.
This searching for new fighters to challenge Jones has benefited some. For instance, Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, the American powerhouse cruised past Phil Davis at UFC 172 last. After being brought back to the organisation after a stint in WSOF.
Johnson climbed 9 places in the UFC rankings, a sure sign of his impressive win. But also a sign of the decline of the UFC light heavyweight division. Previously a win over Phil Davis would definitely warrant a jump in rankings, but a jump of 9 places? Never.
A Division Resurgence?
The wiping out of all challengers at LH has led to fighters from different weight classes coming in. To see how they will fare against “Bones”, Chael Sonnen came up from middleweight. And did exactly what was expected of him, talked trash and lost in the first round.
One challenger who will look to have a different ending than Sonnen is Daniel Cormier. Who has dropped from Heavyweight and squares off against Dan Henderson at UFC 173. If he comes through Henderson, Gustafsson will have company in challenging Jon Jones and finally. The LH division will be somewhat back to the days of unpredictability.
The emergence of the aforementioned Alexander Gustafsson also brings a spark of life back to the division. Gus is a legitimate contender who almost took the belt away from Jones. And in doing so has rejuvenated the division. Finally, the division has some new life and the possibility of the belt swapping hands has lit a fire in the stagnant weight class.
There are signs that the division might change with new challengers finally showing themselves. But if Jon Jones has the way they will all falter and become more rubble to add to the pile. And again we will be stuck with an ultra-impressive champion and a weight-class that is somewhat boring.