Jon Jones is sitting on top of the world right now. He has become in a span of one year the most exciting, dominate, as well as the most polarizing light heavyweight since Tito Ortiz in his prime. We all remember when Tito was the brash young phenom who disrespected his opponents with the grave digger celebration. Now it's Jon Jones making enemies faster than he wins fights. But like all young lions they get humbled, eventually. We saw former light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal get his lesson against the ageless Bernard Hopkins who declared in their Face-Off on HBO that Pascal needed to quote, "get spanked". From the wise old pugilist's perspective Pascal was a young duck in need of some long overdue discipline. This happens a lot in the sport of boxing where the young stud refuses to acknowledge the path laid by his predecessor. In some cases like when Floyd Mayweather met Shane Mosley the student bests the master, but in most cases as we saw with Pascal and Hopkins in the rematch, the teacher reminds the student why he's the teacher in the first place. Pascal seemed desperate to whisk away the aura of Bernard because I think deep down he was envious of all that Hopkins had become over the years. Pascal is a great young fighter but he lacks the perspective. You gain perspective when you're humbled. I think Pascal goes on to be a better fighter because he lost.
The same will and has to happen to Jon Jones. Right now the young kid doesn't know how to lose or that he can lose. He's the most exciting light heavyweight in the world and he's going to be a marketing tool for Zuffa as they continue to build the UFC brand. That being said you know Rashad Evans made a great point on Inside MMA. He said Jon Jones is young and he has all these people gushing over him and telling him he's the best thing since life itself. When you're young and you seek the world you lend an ear to those souping your head because it's hard not to. But you know I think Rashad also understands that sooner or later Jon Jones will lose his first fight and the process of humbling yourself will begin.
That being said will it come against Rampage Jackson? No, I don't see a 33 year old Rampage beating Jon Jones. Jones is too tall, too quick, and too multi-dimensional for someone so historically one dimensional, at least in his UFC history. I know I'm going to get killed for saying that but we can all agree that Rampage doesn't try to win on points, he won't try to submit you, he's going to try and knock your head off because as he said post UFC 130 he likes to knock people out. This fight is horrible stylistically because Rampage is looking for one way to win, while Jon Jones has more than one way to win the fight. I predict Jones either by knock out or UD. It won't be a quick fight though.
This sets up a fight with Rashad Evans. You know I've noticed something with Jon Jones when you put Rashad in the equation. Is it me or does this remind you of the little brother trying to prove he's no longer afraid of his older brother by beating him up. You know how it is, the little brother gets punked for most of his life until one day he's 6'3 and weighs 235 pounds, most of that muscle. And now he's the same height as the older brother, they weigh around the same and little bro ain't scared anymore.
So the question is does this turn out like Hopkins/Pascal II where Bernard gave Jean a lesson on how to be a true champion, or does this go the way of Mayweather/Mosley, where one of the most obvious examples of the student becoming the teacher took place in the ring that night. Who knows, but I think a lot of people will root for Rashad Evans. Can't say I saw that coming two years ago when everybody hated Sugar Rashad.