Now I'm not trying to hate here, so please read the whole post before you get too upest.
After Jon Jones destroyed Shogun to take the LHW belt, Snowden noted that some of his tactics were borderline, if not outright illegal. Here's the link: Snowden noted at the end of the first round that: "Jones proceeds to headbutt Rua in the stomach. Between this, the knee stomp, and the iron claw, it's been an ugly fight." You can check the comments for what other people were saying at the time.
Fast forward to UFC 135. In the first round, if I remember correctly, Jones threw a knee that Rampage complained to the ref about getting too close the groin. Jones followed up with a foot stomp (prompting the announcer to comment it was like a flashback to the early UFCs). He also fought with his fingers pointed at Rampage's eyes, not quite poking him, and deliberately kicked Rampage straight in the knee.
Now, none of this stuff is illegal, I don't think, except for the alleged knee to the groin (I could be wrong), and so, it would be wrong to say that Jones is a dirty fighter. You didn't hear Rampage complaining about it afterwards either. I do think it's fair, however, to say that Jones is more comfortable pushing the line on what's allowed than some other fighters are.
I have no problem with that. I believe that if it's in the rules, go ahead and do it. There are no unwritten rules of cage fighting. If something's allowed,then it's allowed. When people act according to a mysterious code of conduct, it leads to misunderstandings, like Mayweather clocking Ortiz when he was going up for more bro-hug action. If everyone just followed the rules, there'd be no ambiguity.
But it's true that at this point, you can say this stuff happened by accident. Jones is very calm and thoughtful in the ring, and if he did something, he did it on purpose. It is difficult to imagine any of the UFC's other champions employ some of these techniques, legal or not.
And let's be honest: if Jones had blown out Rampage's knee with a kick, putting him out of action for a year, a lot of people would be super pissed about it, even though it would have been totally legal.
As much as I rag on "unwritten rules", and don't care about them myself, it's undeniable there's a price in social stigma for violating them. Again, look at Mayweather. The NSAC didn't think for a moment about whether the move was "legal", but the response from the fans and other fighters has been largely negative.
Particularly for Jones, since he really "talks the talk" of being such a humble, honourable guy, I think this behaviour will eventually catch up with him. You start to wonder why he even bothers with it. Maybe he will embrace heel role, the same way Mayweather did.
One thing is for sure - whatever kind of techniques he used, it looks like he will be the champ for a good long while.