Rise and Fall: Jon Jones

Story by Nick Santiago 

March. 19, 2011, the biggest night in young Jon Jones’ life as he becomes the youngest UFC champion ever at only 23-years-old by defeating Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in the third round by TKO for the light heavyweight title.

At that point Dana White, the UFC, and the whole world knew a star was born. However, some of the brightest stars can fade the quickest.

Jones is a freak of nature standing at 6-feet-4-inches, weighing 200-pounds with an 84-inch reach. His fighting style is unorthodox, but in control with head kicks that would seem to come out of nowhere to spinning elbows so fast that no one saw it being set up. The cage was his and he knew it.

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When Jones became the champion he then became the face of the UFC, not losing a single title defense and beating fighters like Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, Alexander Gustaffson, and his biggest rival yet Daniel Cormier.

During this reign of dominance, he was regarded as the pound-for-pound best in the world and arguably the best MMA fighter to ever walk this Earth.

What made Jon Jones an even bigger subject, and not for good reasons, was his problems outside of the octagon, which would ultimately put a halt on what would’ve been an unblemished career, on par with the likes of Floyd Mayweather in boxing.

The kid that was known as the best fighter in the world just couldn’t stay out of his own way. He first got in trouble back in 2012 for a DUI by driving his car into a pole. He got a little slap on the wrist and still competed in the next UFC event.

A couple years later in December of 2014, he failed a drug test given to him and before his first fight against Daniel Cormier, Jones had cocaine in his system and ended up checking into rehab after the fight.

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He stayed in rehab for one day, but couldn’t stay out of trouble for long. Just a few months later Jones was involved a hit-and-run where he hit a pregnant women’s car, which broke her arm and subsequently fled the scene. After this incident, the UFC had no other choice but to strip him of his title and suspend him.

Jones would come back to the UFC hopefully ready to fight and stay out of trouble, finally putting his career first and giving fans the best champion and fighter they could ask for.

Wrong.

As fast as he got back in the octagon he was kicked out again because this time he tested positive for an illegal substance. Jones was suspended again by the USADA for one year and stripped of the interim title in 2015.

Fast forward a year and it’s present day 2017, Jones is back ready for the long awaited second fight with Cormier. This is it, like a scene from a movie, he defeats Cormier in just three rounds to get his title and has his crown back.

If only it had ended right there.

Just a week after this fight, news breaks that Jones has failed yet another drug test for the use of anabolic steroids.

Jones will most likely be stripped of the title for a third time and never fight in the UFC again, by this time he will be well past his prime and be a shadow of the fighter he once was.

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What could have been an amazing career will be overshadowed by the fact that he just couldn’t stay out of his own way. Now the next time we look forward to seeing Jon Jones will probably be in a 30 for 30 film about his rise and fall and that breaks my heart because it could have been so much more.

 

Featured image for this post courtesy of UFC 

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