Dana White's growing feud with UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones continues to be a bad idea. In last night's dramatic win over Vitor Belfort, Jones faced various sorts of adversity and persevered on to victory. Jones is the UFC's biggest star in the United States and had more cross over appeal than any other fighter in the UFC's most lucrative market and his Q rating is only going up at this point. Look for Jones to be mentioned and shown on air during the Sunday Night Football game which will feature both of the football playing Jones brothers.
Jones is in a unique position of any fighter before him because if this feud continues he would be more than able to wait out the UFC in any dispute. Between his own sponsorship money and his brothers being in the NFL, Jones should be more than able to be inactive for long periods of time if Jones is smart with his money, which can be a big if with young athletes. He could very well be the first fighter to have leverage on the UFC in negations due to amount of wealth his family is accumulating.
And if Jones continues to finish opponents in thrilling fashion he will over come White's attempts to turn the casual fan against him. White has a history of feuding with large stars and then mending fences, and it would be in his best intersts to extend an olive branch to Jones now rather than continue to make things worse.
more after the jump...
- While Jones won the fight, his mistakes in guard reared reappeared and because of that he was almost finished with an armbar. Jones' arm clearly was hyperextended at one point and it also clearly changed how he fought the rest of the match. His sloppy work in guard has been something talked about but until now no fighter had a ever made Jones pay for those mistakes. While this likely will go on to become a talking point in the lead up to every Jon Jones fight for years to come, both Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight lack enough dynamic guard players to make this a real concern for the champion. That said it is clearly a hole in his game that needs to be filled and is one aspect of the fight game he has not picked up with stunning speed.
- Vitor, despite his near success, got a world class beating last night. He had shining moments of offense, but he threw everything he hand at Jones from left hands, to right hooks, to head kicks, to triangles and nothing seemed to phase the champion after that armbar. Many fans are decrying Vitor's pulling guard and wondering why something like that would be in the game plan. It didn't seem to be part of Vitor's plan going in, it really looked like an escape from the damage he was taking on the feet. And Team Alpha Male continues their 0-for in UFC title fights.
- The first Flyweight title fight did not disappoint, it resulted in fantastic, scramble filled action. Demetrious Johnson again showed huge improvements on the feet and clearly out struck Joesph Benavidez in three rounds. What was equally amazing was the Johnson is known for marking up in fights and came away with a near clean face, while it was Benavidez covered in welts and bruises. All in all it was great five round title fight that left me wanting more of that division.
- Not going to devote much time to Michael Bisping vs Brian Stann or Matt Hamill vs Roger Hollet, as they were basically the same fight one right after another. Bisping displayed great Octagon generalship as he deftly out maneuvered the former marine to a decision win. Hamill showed he that the time off in his "retirement" has not effected him at all and he is still the same old just good enough fighter he was before.
- This card featured two prospects getting dispatched as both Jimy Hettes and Charles Oliveira lost their matches. Oliveira had the worst of it, as he was knocked out in way that made it appear that Cub Swanson had mastered the Dim Mak death touch. It really seems like Oliveira have issues with taking punches and recovering, and it is something to watch moving forward. Hettes on the other hand just left fans scratching their heads as he show no urgency trying to get the grappling novice Marcus Brimage to the ground. Hettes seemed happy to stand and trade with a career striking and while he did well in the second round, Brimage turned Hettes into a bobble head for much of the first and third rounds. The only positive that comes of this for Hettes is at least we all know he can take a punch at this point.
- Vinny Magalheas put a slick armbar on an over matched Croatian fighter in two rounds and I'm supposed to believe that wasn't a M-1 title fight?
- T.J. Grant put a world class tanning on Evan Dunham and looks like a real serious Lightweight. Look for his next fight to be with a big name in the division and for him to start edging into the title picture.