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UFC 126 Aftermath, Part Two: With Jones vs. Shogun Surprise, UFC Can’t Lose

(Don’t just stand there, do something, Herb. PicProps: )

Forget the Anderson Silva kick for a minute. Forget Paul Taylor punting Gabe Ruediger’s head into Brittney Palmer’s lap at ringside. Forget Forrest Griffin and Rich Franklin slogging through a stinker of a “co-main event” that the UFC really, desperately wanted us to believe was a great fight. Forget all that, the most impressive thing that happened at UFC 126 on Saturday night was that somehow – in the age of Twitter and all these muckraking bloggers – the company managed to keep Rashad Evans’ injury and Jon Jones’ impending title shot a secret until Joe Rogan dropped the bomb on us during their postfight interview. Well played, UFC.

Frankly, this is a brilliant tactical move. Think about it: 23-year-old Jon Jones now has six weeks to prepare for the fight of his life against the No. 1-ranked 205-pound fighter in the world. If he wins, it puts him on a bullet train into the history books, hands the UFC an unfuckwitable promotional storyline and makes every nerdy MMA writer on the planet (this one included) practically swoon from the size of our enormous, swelling boners for Jones. If he loses, no harm done. None at all. Just explain it away: The kid is still a baby in the sport and got rushed into a title shot against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua on relatively short notice. It’s pretty much a can’t-lose situation for the UFC. 

Now, how bad does all this suck for Rashad? Dude. It sucks baaaad.

Evans already waited almost eight months for Rua to get back from his own injury only to suffer what is being reported as a sprained knee ligament, which will require just six to eight weeks of rehab. In response, the UFC – probably already pissed at him for choosing to wait for Shogun instead being a “true fighter” or some such bullshit – hands the opportunity to his teammate. Evans’ training camp now becomes Jones’ training camp. His chance, Jones’ chance.

And what if Jones wins? He and Evans do their best to play up a kind of friendly (even familial) relationship in public, but with Jones as champ you’d have to wonder if the Jackson-Wittman alliance would be big enough for both their aspirations. If one of those guys has to break camp and find a new home, it ain’t gonna be Jones.

Like the UFC, Jones essentially gets a golden ticket here. He gets to vault over any kind of contender fight with a Machida-or-Rampage-or-FoGriff-level guy straight into a title shot. Hard to say he doesn’t deserve it, too, after utterly dismantling Ryan Bader on Saturday night. Prior to the event, we actually thought Bader could make a fight out of it. Boy, were we wrong. 

Jones so completely flustered and dominated Bader through two rounds that he had him diving in from the parking lot on desperation double-legs and eventually forced the former Division I wrestler to pull half guard. Think about that for a second. Bader – the consummate wrestler – felt so uncomfortable with what was happening on the feet (and had so given up on the takedown) that he opted for the bottom (in half guard), where he immediately got choked out.

Dude is lucky he is not Jay Cutler and UFC 126 was not the NFC championship game, or there would probably be a lot of rampant internet speculation going on right now. As is stands, he just got flat-out dwarfed by Jones, both physically and skills-wise. At one point Jones literally leapfrogged him in an attempt to take his back. You don’t even think of pulling off that kind of move in an MMA fight unless you’re 100 percent confident your opponent can not hurt you.

The whole thing was even more impressive than we thought it was going to be. Now Jones goes straight back to training where he has almost exactly a month and a half to get ready for Shogun. Luckily, he has his buddy Rashad there to help him.


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Chuck_W- February 7, 2011 at 6:02 am
I like both fighters...jones v. shogun is epic but the level of disrespect for jones is getting to Anderson Silva levels. Jones beat Stephan Bonner, legit striker...and broke Brandon Vera, legit striker...are either "Shogun" level, no but they are legit strikers and like him or not Bonner is one of the most durable guys in MMA and he never goes away. I know no one likes a guy who wins in blow out fashion all the time but to not appreciate the body of work these guys are putting together in the cage because of some tweets or post fight interviews says more about you than you could ever say about jon jones or anderson silva.
With that said...if shogun is healthy i think he'll beat jones. the kids a phenom but a healthy shogun is a tall order for any one to fill. Jones lentgh will help but Shogun is one of the best at closing the striking gap with powerful kicks and punches. Jones chin and shins will be tested and i can't wait for this fight.
Abe Froeman- February 7, 2011 at 3:13 am
Redping, you're a funny, dude. We can be friends.

"Brazilians don't get ring rust." Ring rust isn't something you can avoid just by letting you're sparing partner hit you with full power in the gym. I don't know if you've ever trained or been in the ring but I'm just going to say that there is a big difference between the gym and the ring.

I'm not trying to destroy your relationship with Shogun, but I think you're putting way to much stock into what he did in, "Pride." Pride had a completely different pace with a different set of rules which is why most of the talent that tried to transition into the UFC got smoked.

"Jones has no jiujitsu." Do you honestly think that he's not at Greg Jackson's camp rolling with the top UFC fighters who happen to train at the same gym? Give me a break, dude. Bader was not his toughest opponent nor was he the most skilled. Jones, did in fact, when with a guitone choke.

"Unfortunately they haven't given him a single striker until now." That is the same propaganda the UFC used to sell the Silva/Belfort fight. Actually, it's the same propaganda the UFC uses to sell every Anderson Silva fight but, that's neither here nor there.

Shogun may win in impressive fashion and good on him, if he does. He has done a lot in the sport of mma, you're right. He is also a very accomplished mma fighter. Having said that, what color belt you have in jiujistu or how good your striking is goes out the window when you never get a chance to use it because a freak of nature is dropping bombs on your face. Respect him? Of course! Champion? We'll see in six weeks.
rogerw- February 7, 2011 at 2:11 am
I just watched Ariel Halwani's interview with Steven Seagal, funniest fucking thing I've seen in a while. Anderson Silva sent him a letter "will you please teach me your deadly stuff"? What the fuck was he thinking? lol
dlb- February 7, 2011 at 1:28 am
Re: Rashad/Jones leaving camp.

I seem to remember Jackson being quoted as saying his loyalties lie with the first few guys from the camp who helped make him big; GSP, Jardine, Rashad, etc... So I guess we'll see if that holds true or if he sticks with the guy who has a chance to be champ or top contender at multiple divisions for the next 10 years.
Redping- February 6, 2011 at 10:09 pm
"Shogun is the man, true enough. But, he hasn't been in the ring for ten months."

brazillians don't get ring rust. In fact, only brock lesnar gets ring rust, because he's the only person who doesn't let other people hit him in his gym.

And Shogun was knocking Overeem out back when Jones was still in school, Jones is going quit the fight as soon as he gets hit, because he's never been hit like Shogun hits.

Honestly this is like everybody writing him off over Thiago Silva or something, the man has done so much for the sport and doesn't deserve this much disrespect.

"Stating that Jones doesn't have, "Any special ability other than wrestling" is just not true. You said it best, my friend. " Jones has never been pushed, beaten, or leg-kicked in his life." Do you think that's because he has longer arms? I"m not saying he's going to win, but give credit where credit is due."

Jones has no jiujitsu, and he has 'mui thai training' or something right? or something? His toughest opponent is BADER. that's why he's never been leg kicked. Shogun is a blackbelt, is one of the best strikers to ever live, and has never fought anybody who is so bad that they'd lose to Bader.

Jones has proved that he's a better wrestler than other wrestlers, and that's great. Unfortunately they haven't given him a single striker until now - it's almost kinda mean, how badly shogun is going to punch his face in. Athletic ability is great and all but Shogun was soccer kicking people in the face while Jones was still in sunday school
cursed5- February 6, 2011 at 9:18 pm
I just watched Jones' interview on MMA Live. He's kind of a blerd.
Abe Froeman- February 6, 2011 at 8:32 pm
Shogun is the man, true enough. But, he hasn't been in the ring for ten months. I've seen two sides of Shogun in the UFC. Remember when Forrest Griffin walked through him? Also, remember how bad he looked in the Mark Coleman fight? That was not the same Shogun who knocked out Liddell and Machida, granted. Which leads me to my point. Shogun is 3 and 2 in the UFC. It's hard to say which Shogun we're going to see in his next fight against Jon Jones.

Stating that Jones doesn't have, "Any special ability other than wrestling" is just not true. You said it best, my friend. " Jones has never been pushed, beaten, or leg-kicked in his life." Do you think that's because he has longer arms? I"m not saying he's going to win, but give credit where credit is due.
fatbellyfrank- February 6, 2011 at 8:29 pm
Ok boys, now leaving the station, Shogun bandwagon, Redpings driving and I'm stoking the coal. Shogun IS gonna beat Jones, I beleive Shogun's all round game and experience will get the job done, ALL ABOARD, Shogun beleivers only thanks,
Jonny Jones hype train over at the next platform, and that is one fucken big train
fatbellyfrank- February 6, 2011 at 8:22 pm
@ Aussiejosh, you might need to explain stiffy mate, I dont think our overseas brothers use that term much, but yeah, Anderson v Jones would be pretty stiffy inducing, and anyone who uses the word stiffy in an online post gets the thumbs up and a +100 from me.
Brittanny gives me a stiffy as well.
AussieJosh- February 6, 2011 at 8:16 pm
GSP Vs Silva gives me a stiffy thinking about it! But do you know what even gives me a BIGGER stiffy!? Jones winning the belt then Aderson moving up to LHW and fighting Bones! They would both just NINJA each other!
newotnek- February 6, 2011 at 7:44 pm
Bones by knock out. Kid is that good. Its not like he's getting the Brock treatment and fighting for the title out of the box.
Redping- February 6, 2011 at 7:26 pm
Jones has never been pushed, beaten, or leg-kicked in his life

Shogun has seen everything, and can throw the meanest leg kicks ever. I just don't see what Jones is going to do to counter world class-everything except wrestling. Why is everyone backing jones,a nd nobody backed Chael? yet neither of them have any special ability other than their wrestling? or is shogun just going to lose because he has smaller arms

brutal knockout for shogun
fatbellyfrank- February 6, 2011 at 7:21 pm
Not writing shogun off just yet, jones is very impressive, but fuck, so is Shogun, and Shogun's got a bit more experience, I think I'm gonna cheer for Shogun in this one
Redping- February 6, 2011 at 6:50 pm
into the ufc*
Redping- February 6, 2011 at 6:33 pm
Wow, this is stupid. Jones beats RYAN BADER, a guy who beat a dude named VINNY to get into TUF, and now he's going to beat Shogun? Why? Because Bader couldn't take Jones down? That doesn't make any sense

Jones has never fought a striker. Shogun is the best in the world, and would eat him up on the ground because of this art form known as 'jiujitsu'.

how quickly people forget! at least I'll get to make some money off of the KO
jimbonics- February 6, 2011 at 6:22 pm
Rashad moves back to Heavyweight.
Abe Froeman- February 6, 2011 at 4:43 pm
If Jon Jones can pull off the win against Shogun I'm curious to see how Greg Jackson's camp will react. Will certain fighters continue to play second fiddle to their teammates or move to different weight classes? Leaving the camp would go against everything they supposedly stand
Dana_Plight- February 6, 2011 at 2:37 pm
Hansel Jones is so hot right now.
budsellers- February 6, 2011 at 2:31 pm
i completely agree with fah q nl15... if i did not have to ingest any of jones' outside the octagon antics, i would probably thoroughly enjoy his performances without wishing someone to lay a hard uppercut on his chin. as it is now, i have not been successful at that. if jones gets hurt in the next 2-3 weeks and he gets replaced by griffin or jackson, i will not be happy about it for rua or for the division, but i do not think jones deserves this title shot yet either.

as far as evans is concerned, i think this result is his just desserts for fighting only 3 times in the last 2+ years and calling himself a champ when he could not even defend the belt.

edit: actually, now that i mention griffin taking the title shot... doesn't that fight make more sense now? if griffin loses rua gets his revenge taken care of and if rua loses, at least the revenge match was a main event for the title instead of after they both lose. plus, no matter which top 5 fighter or when it takes place, jones next fight will easily qualify to be a main event.
RSparrow- February 6, 2011 at 2:31 pm
That's nuts that he's the favorite against Shogun. Bad ass though.
Bruce_Buffer- February 6, 2011 at 2:05 pm
I still think that a healthy Shogun has the advantage in this fight. Remember the Machida hype train? Machida had more experience fighting vets coming into his fights with Rua than bones does. AND many of those W's were devastating, 1 sided ordeals like Bones' wins have been.

Don't discount Shogun here.
Daley- February 6, 2011 at 1:55 pm
Shogun will win this fight, I'm saying it now so there's no confusion, Shogun will win.
mt59801- February 6, 2011 at 1:54 pm
So Jones will be the new champ for a while, Bader gets gatekeeper status for the division, and the old guys just get frustrated. I smell set-up, GSP loses to silva, bones gets next shot wins......... and then we have to listen to him talk for 2-3 years.

--Karma ............... yeah applying the chin and digging to an arm,back etc. works in wrestling and Judo but I've never seen anyone who trains you to throw it like a headbutt. I'm not sure what yourYMCA karate class MMA instructor teaches but throwing the chin is a dick move and good way to KO yourself. I'm sure you know from your extensive bullshitting ability MMA training that hitting shit with your chin runs the risk of compressing the temporal mandibular nerve junction at the hinge point of your mandible which is why people go down when hit on the chin.
rogerw- February 6, 2011 at 1:50 pm
I think there are about a hundred fights between now and that scenario to become true. ;)
Clyde- February 6, 2011 at 1:41 pm
I said Jones may need a loss to keep him grounded, but maybe he actually is as good as he's been hyped up to be. Which is a scary thought indeed for everyone at light heavyweight.

I think he's about to become champion and if he does, we're not even going to be shocked. Kid is a fucking monster.