One Thing to Watch: Jones Era Begins
With the NBA, NHL, NASCAR and other major sports leagues and sporting events suspended or canceled, what better time to take a look back at some iconic sports moments? Each day, we’ll deliver One Thing to Watch.
Over the past decade, no sports league or promotion has had an astronomical rise similar to that of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
One of its brightest stars, light heavyweight champion Jon "Bones" Jones, has had his ups and downs in recent years, both in and out of the ring, but one thing that's undeniable is his talent, which was arguably at its peak on March 19, 2011.
On that night, at UFC 128, 23-year old Jones became the youngest champion in UFC history, a record he still holds today.
Other records held by Jones – the MMA GOAT in the eyes of many – include most title bouts, most title bout wins and most light heavyweight wins. In addition, he is in the top five of several other major record categories, including most overall wins, consecutive wins, consecutive title bout wins and most Pay-Per-View main events.
Have a look at the night that his legendary career got off the ground:
What most don't remember about this night is that it wasn't supposed to happen, at least for Jones.
Bones' teammate Rashad Evans was originally scheduled to face Rua, but Evans had to pull out of the fight with a knee injury.
Although Jones had seven UFC fights under his belt, he was still considered an up-and-coming fighter to an extent. At that point, his biggest UFC wins were over Ryan Bader and Vladimir Matyushenko – good fighters, but not legends by any means.
Rua represented a huge jump in competition. While Jones was competing in his 14th professional MMA fight, Shogun was competing in his 24th pro fight and already owned wins over Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, Alistair Overeem, Ricardo Arona, Chuck Liddell and Lyoto Machida.
In retrospect, Rua's experience proved futile. Jones dominated the fight and has continued to dominate the UFC int0 2020. He's won 13 consecutive fights (1 NC) dating back to his win over Rua.
Long live Bones.