When Jon Jones was announced as the undisputed UFC Light-Heavyweight Champion last night, he fell to his knees and wept, embracing the moment and likely reflecting back on the past two years of his life and career. His reaction was as if he had just won his title for the first time.
In many ways, this is the first championship for Jones, as this is a new Jon Jones.
Everything from the way he looked to the way he acknowledged his opponent was indicative of a new, reformed Jones. Jones, 30, looked as young as he ever has. His eyes were clear and, for lack of a better term, it looked like someone was home. Gone was the tired and worn looking Jones – a look that was well-earned from tireless training coupled with admitted drug use and partying during the height of his initial championship run.
After dispatching Daniel Cormier mid-way through the third round, Jones was complimentary and appeared willing to mend fences with his bitter rival.
“I want to take this time to thank Daniel Cormier,” Jones said after the fight. “For being my biggest rival and motivator. He has absolutely no reason to hang his head. He has been a model champion, a model husband, a model father. A teammate, leader, and I aspire to be a lot more like that man because he’s an amazing human being.”
The only thing that hadn’t changed was his awe-inspiring performance in the cage. The first two rounds were tightly fought with Jones out-landing Cormier from a volume perspective, but with Cormier arguably landing the most significant blows. Jones remained patient and landed a left high kick in the third round that saw his shin land flush with the side of Cormier’s head. From that point, Jones took over and finished the fight with punches and elbows to a prone Cormier. Cormier was given more than ample time by referee John McCarthy to recover, but he had no offense after the initial kick landed.
With UFC 214 in the books, we now have a new Jon Jones, a new champion and a new Light Heavyweight Division. But Jones may have his sight set on bigger and badder things. “Brock Lesnar, if you want to know what it feels like to get your ass kicked by a guy who weighs 40 pounds less than you, meet me in the Octagon.”
Hiscoe’s Analysis: I was very impressed by Jones last night and I’m happy to see that he’s turned things around. Last night’s show was a good show, even with the dreadful Tyron Woodley-Demian Maia co-main event.
Jones-Lesnar is starting to look like a real thing and it’s an exciting prospect, even if it doesn’t do much for the UFC Light Heavyweight Division. If Jones and Lesnar do fight later this year, Alexander Gustafsson and Volkan Oezdemir can fight to see who the next contender is for Jones down the line.
SUNDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS…
-Jon Jones said of a potential Brock Lesnar fight that he feels it is a “winnable” fight and that Lesnar has a “limited game.”
-Dana White said at the post-fight press conference that the GSP vs. Michael Bisping fight is back on. This comes just days after saying that “that ship has sailed.” White cited Robert Whittaker’s knee injury and Tyron Woodley’s less than inspiring performance last night as reason’s for re-booking the fight.
-White was very critical of Woodley. “The guy [Maia] had one eye in the first round and you’re faster, you’re stronger, your hands are better, you’re explosive. I believe that Woodley could’ve finished that in the first round and, if not, he definitely could’ve finished it in the second round. If you had a remote control for that guy, he’s a freak of nature, he’d be an incredible fighter. Listen, it’s easy to say ‘a win’s a win,’ but when you get booed out of an arena, that means people don’t want to watch you fight, you know. And that’s how you make a living. It’s not good if people don’t want to watch you fight.”
-Post-fight bonuses went to Jon Jones and Volkan Oezdemir for performance of the night and to Brian Ortega vs. Renato Moicano for fight of the night.
-Joe Rogan was apologetic for interviewing a clearly distraught Daniel Cormier a few minutes after his knockout loss to Jon Jones. Rogan has said in the past that he was uncomfortable interviewing fighters after being knocked out. Rogan wrote on Instagram: “My apologies to D.C. And to everyone else upset at me for interviewing him after the fight. In all honestly, I was kind of in shock and I don’t think I realized what I was doing until I had a mic in my hand and I was talking to him. I’ve said that I don’t want to interview fighters after they’ve been KO’ed and then I did it to someone that I care a great deal about. It was 100 percent my f— up and no one pressured me to do it. I posted a series of tweets about it on Twitter, but I know some of you folks only use Instagram or Facebook so I thought the right thing to do is post it here as well. I was beating myself up about it all night, and whenever something like that happens it’s always my sincere intention to apologize and express my honest feelings. It’ll never happen again.”
-UFC announced a Nov. 25 Fight Night event from Shanghai last night.
PRESS CONFERENCE VIDEO…
Watch last night’s press conference video HERE.