Friday, March 25, 2011

ROUNDTABLE: Who poses the biggest threat to Jon Jones following his UFC 128 destruction of Mauricio "Shogun" Rua? Hansen, Hobaugh, Hyden, Park, Marsh, Perez, Williams, Pelkey and Penick

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Who poses the biggest potential threat to Jon Jones after his destruction of "Shogun" Rua?

RICH HANSEN, MMATORCH COLUMNIST

Jon Jones is a heavyweight who possesses the ability to cut down to light heavyweight.� Once he starts lifting for mass/bulk, and once he doesn't have to be so stringent on calories, he's going to be a 250 pound heavyweight fighter.� As a result, i don't see anyone having a realistic chance to defeat him at the 205 weight class; at least not anyone who is currently on the radar.� So, I see a small handful of fighters who pose a chance (excluding the fluky "puncher's chance," which most fighters at this level do possess.

�- Some 19 year old kid we've never heard of.� He might not even be at a big time gym yet.
�- Cain Velazquez - A dominant wrestler who can shoot double-legs might be able to get Jones on his back.
�- Alistair Overeem/Junior Dos Santos - Jones has yet to be hit hard.� These guys not only have power, but the technique to get inside the reach Jones possesses.

ERIC HOBAUGH, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR

After the total domination of Shogun by Jon Jones at UFC 128, I have my doubts of there being a fighter at light heavyweight who can beat Jones. �Shogun was an excellent opponent on paper. He was the champ. He had years of experience against top tier fighters. He had an excellent chin. �He was and is one of the best fighters ever. �I do think Rashad Evans will have some advantage, because he trained against Jones at Greg Jackson's camp. That advantage will not be enough. Jon Jones will dominate Evans just like everyone else he has faced. I would love to see a Jones and Anderson Silva fight, but don't hold your breath for this one. Silva will not take this fight, because he knows he cannot win. I think Jon Jones will have to go up to heavyweight to see any real threat in the octagon.�

FRANK HYDEN, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR

I think the biggest threat to Jones in the immediate future is himself. That's sort of a cop-out, but it's true. It's easier to be the hunter than the hunted. If Jones maintains his approach to fighting and training, there doesn't appear to be much that can stop him. I think Lyoto Machida poses a threat to Jones, just because of his style. More than him, though, I think Quinton Jackson poses the biggest threat to Jones, mainly because of his immense power. Having said that, though, I don't think any of the light heavyweights in the UFC pose a formidable threat to Jones right now.

CHRIS PARK, MMATORCH UK SPECIALIST

Last Saturday's encounter was extremely brutual and pretty much exactly how i predicted the bout would go - only it lasted a round or two longer.

With that in mind I don't see an immediate threat to what I believe will be a long and successful time at the top for Mr. Jones.

There will of course be a line of challengers forming, starting with Rashad Evans, then the likes of Rampage Jackson, Lyoto Machida and company all craving a shot at the new kid on the block.

Once the dust settles in 12 months or so there may be a new rising star on the horizon, but for now, no one can touch this guy in my opinion - not even Anderson Silva.

GRIFFIN MARSH, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Anderson Silva absolutely. �He's quicker, more powerful and a more accurate striker than Jones. He also has a proven chin, having taken plenty of solid punches from fighters more powerful than Jones. �For Jones to beat Silva he will have to hold him down for five rounds and well, we've seen what Anderson has done to strong wrestlers, he's finished them. �Like Lyoto Machida, Jones doesn't use a boxing defense. �He leaves himself wide open to strikes and when considering everything together, I�just don't think he's shown the cardio or the ability to take a punch that he will definitely need in a bout with Silva. �Silva has a proven record and chin. �He can stand with Jones in the pocket, take his assault and counter. �

That's where things get interesting. �With having allowed multiple fighters to get back to their feet after taking them down, I don't see Jones holding Silva down, and I just see Silva taking it to him, then taking him into the fourth and fifth rounds, which is something we haven't seen. �I just don't think Jones' defense is near good enough to hang with Anderson. �One day Anderson will lose, age gets us all. �But Jonny "Bones" isn't the man to do it. Anderson is a nightmare for jones stylistically.

ANWAR PEREZ, MMATORCH COLUMNIST

After Jon Jones fully dismantled Shogun Rua, it's kind of hard to pinpoint who in the division can be a threat to him.� It certainly won't be Rashad Evans, who faces Jones next.� My guess, and I do believe it's too early to hedge bets on this, is that Anderson Silva will be the one to threaten Mr.� Jones.� But, before we start calling the "Bones Era," let's see how Jones does his first few fights before we start calling him the next Georges St. Pierre or Anderson Silva.

ALEX WILLIAMS, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Phil Davis, but not for awhile.� When Shogun Rua won the Pride Grand Prix at age 23, I would have bet good money that no one in MMA would be able to dominate him like this six years later.� I don't think there is any 205 pounder in the world who can take Jones.� Phil Davis is a blue chip prospect, though.� Perhaps in a couple years, he will have developed enough to give Jones a battle.

MATT PELKEY, MMATORCH COLUMNIST

Um... Cain Velasquez? And that's not a joke. Jon Jones vs. Cain Velasquez will be the new GSP vs. Silva in about three years. As Jones continues to grow and mature physically, he's not going to want to keep making a 30-40+ pound weight cut. His future will be in the heavyweight division. At light-heavyweight, only Phil Davis possesses the physical abilities and wrestling acumen it's going to take to seriously challenge Jones, and he might still be a couple years away. His fight on Saturday against Nogueira should give us some indication of how close he is. Rashad just signed his own death warrant. Rampage would get massacred. Machida would be intriguing until the fight started. Who's left? Forrest Griffin? Yeesh. To beat Jones, someone is either going to have to knock him out or put him on his back. None of the current top challengers at light-heavyweight can accomplish those things. Rampage won't be able to get close enough to touch him until he's flying�through the air on the way to the mat courtesy of a Bones throw. Rashad's takedowns will get shrugged off or countered. Machida might be able to dance in for a strike or two, but I just can't envision a scenario where he knocks out, submits, or is just better over the course of a five round fight than Jon Jones.

JAMIE PENICK, MMATORCH EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

I honestly can't envision a light heavyweight currently on the UFC's roster taking Jones out. It's going to take him moving up to heavyweight, which is absolutely in his future, for him to face his biggest challenges, because there will be fighters with the size and wrestling in that division to give him troubles, as well as a number of fighters who hit harder than everyone at 205 lbs. Jones is a very special talent, and though his list of victims doesn't warrant anything near an "all-time" best distinction as of yet, he's the type of fighter that we won't see often, and if he keeps his head about him going forward and makes good moves and continues to improve his game, he will absolutely reach that transcendent level that only few are a part of at the moment.

Source: http://www.mmatorch.com/artman2/publish/roundtables/article_8853.shtml

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