Saying you have Anderson Silva figured out? Old and busted. Saying you have Lyoto Machida figured out? New hotness. In a recent interview with USA Today (via MMA Mania), undefeated light-heavyweight prospect Jon Jones flexed his trash-talk muscle for the first time:
Ever since Jones picked up his second UFC win by dominating Stephan Bonnar at UFC 94, fans and journalists have been calling him the future of the light-heavyweight division. And the praise is justifiable — we just didn’t expect all the accolades to go to the 21-year-old’s head so quickly and dramatically. If there’s anybody who’s succumbing to hype in this situation, it’s Jones himself.
Can a great Muay Thai champion beat a great Karate champion? Perhaps, though no striker has been able to touch Machida so far. But more importantly, Jon Jones isn’t a great Muay Thai champion — he’s a great Greco Roman wrestler, who learned much of his unorthodox striking from YouTube videos. Sure, those spinning elbows and flying knees have frustrated "good" fighters like Gusmao and Bonnar, but I wouldn’t put much faith in them against the measured and eerily precise assaults of Machida.
Calling out guys who are higher on the food chain than you is a great way to keep your name in the head of matchmakers. Sometimes it even works. But Bones, you should know two things: 1) Rashad Evans did have a game plan, as did everyone else who’s ever lost to Machida, and the plan simply didn’t work. Men make gameplans, and Lyoto laughs. He would do the same to you. 2) Rashad’s lack of takedown attempts probably did contribute to his loss. You’re a wrestler too, but you think your Muay Thai is going to beat his karate. You seriously don’t see the irony here?