UFC 135 at the Pepsi Center on September 24, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. via UFC.com
In the main event of UFC 135, Jon Jones successfully defended his Light Heavyweight title against Quinton Jackson. Rampage came in on a two fight win streak, and was looking to regain the title he lost to Forrest Griffin. For Jones, this was his first title defense since winning the belt from Mauricio Rua earlier this year.
Right from the opening bell, Jones fought with both confidence and unpredictability. He began the fight crawling towards Rampage on all fours, and used a variety of other unconventional techniques throughout. As the fight progressed, Jones slowly turned up the pressure. By the end of the 2nd round, the young champion was beginning to run away with the fight. Early in round 4, Jones took Rampage down, and secured the rear naked choke for the tapout. This was only the second time Rampage was submitted in his lengthy career.
What was the high spot of this fight?
There were a lot, but the moment where you really knew it was just a matter of time came at the end of round 3, when Jones channeled his inner Anderson Silva and began clowning the overmatched Rampage.
Where do these guys go from here?
Jones will now attempt to do what no man has done since Chuck Liddell - successfully defend the Light Heavyweight title twice. The general opinion is that he is the man to finally give some stability to the division, but to do so, he'll have to defeat Rashad Evans in a grudge match. After that, the winner of Dan Henderson vs. Shogun should be next in line.
For Rampage, the future is considerably less clear. He still has the weapons to be a player at Light Heavyweight, but he's probably gone from title contention. Post-fight, Rampage called out Shogun for the 2012 UFC Japan show. Should Henderson defeat Rua, a Rampage vs. Shogun rematch in Japan sounds like a fantastic idea. After that, the UFC will have to decide if they want to match Jackson with other legends like Rich Franklin and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, or if they want him testing the young guns like Phil Davis.
Watch it now, later, or never?
Now. I'm not quite sold on this being the Jon Jones Era just yet, but he certainly made a strong case with this entertaining and dominating performance.
More BE coverage of UFC 135 in the full entry.