I've made no bones about the fact that I don't care for Jon Jones' personality. Something about him rubs me the wrong way.
Until the bell rings and he starts to fight.
Machida didn't make things easy on Jones. In fact, Lyoto won the first round using his solid game of movement and opportunistic striking from distance. Jon went back to his corner and actually looked a bit confused and even worried sitting on the stool between rounds.
But in the second round, something clicked. Jones stopped being so willing to stay on the outside, reach not being a huge asset against Machida, and took to the inside. In the clinch, Jones owned Machida and it became quickly clear that he knew it. Once he got a takedown and landed an elbow that opened up Machida's head you could see Jones get a surge of confidence (something he confirmed at the post-fight presser).
The choke finish by Jones seemed almost inevitable once Machida was cut and Jones came on strong.
In the aftermath of the fight I had to sit back and really think about it before typing this. But, I'm ready to call Jon Jones the best fighter in the world. I have trouble thinking of any fighter at 205 who can give him trouble. I'm a big fan of Rashad Evans, but I find it hard to believe that Rashad could stop Jones or win 3 of 5 rounds. The idea of Anderson Silva being able to withstand the attack of the much bigger Jones just doesn't click for me either.
Jones looks completely unstoppable against the top fighters in the world. He's never looked like Silva did underneath Chael Sonnen before a miracle win rescued his title. There is no way a fighter like Jake Shields intimidates Jones the way the former Strikeforce star scared St. Pierre.
Jones is the one person in MMA who I can't see losing right now. That isn't to say he's unbeatable, no one in MMA has that claim. Simply that Jones should be a sizable favorite against anyone who isn't a top heavyweight (and maybe even then).
I feel like I'm in full hyperbole mode, but what we saw last night was a special fighter and one of the most amazing talents the sport has ever seen. And I'm sold on him as the best fighter in the world.