Considering the kind of dominance that wunderkind Jon Jones has exerted over everyone he has faced in the light heavyweight division en route to capturing the title in similarly dominant fashion, it is easy to get caught up in the moment and declare this the “Jon Jones Era” but, if you were around when Lyoto Machida knocked out Rashad Evans to win the belt in 2009, you know how quickly an era can come to an end.
This is the message that Dana White put across to gathered media following Jones’ title-capturing victory over Pride FC veteran Mauricio “Shogun” Rua on Saturday night: that, while Jones has demonstrated that he is truly a special athlete and possesses the skill and ability to lord over the light heavyweight division for years to come, nothing in MMA is a sure thing (Props to USA Today).
“Who the hell knows? Maybe you’re right. Maybe he is Lyoto Machida,” White said when presented with the comparison. “Who knows? That’s the thing: you don’t know. Sitting right here, right now, tonight, Jones looks like the man. It looks like he’s a mile ahead of everybody. That’s why you just said to me, ‘You think Rashad doesn’t have a chance?’ That’s up to Rashad. Who knows?”
The first man Jones will face as champion will be his former teammate Rashad Evans, whose task it will be to prove that the 23-year old phenom is beatable.
“The reality is, none of us know what the (heck) we’re talking about,” White said of Jones’ future as champ. “None of us know what’s going to happen. That’s up to Rashad Evans, whether Rashad Evans can beat him or not.”
It is not yet known when Jones and Evans will face off, but “Bones” indicated after beating “Shogun” (which he did some six weeks after defeating Ryan Bader) that he would enjoy some time off to rest before he fights again. During that time, Evans will no doubt be running over their old training sessions in his head, attempting to pinpoint the weaknesses Jones has shown behind closed doors.