Jon Jones' legacy and P4P status
Long time lurker here, and I think this is the first time I've ever bothered to start a thread. I'm bored, recovering from surgery, and this topic has been bothering me for some time.
Jon Jones' rise has certainly been meteoric, and the UFC currently ranks him #2 pound for pound. However, I've always felt that status was undeserved. Allow me to explain why.
Let's go over Jones' UFC career
André Gusmão, Stephan Bonnar, Jake O'Brien, Matt Hamill - All entry level fights. Not much to discuss here.
Brandon Vera - Used to shine in the old, shallow heavyweight division of the UFC. People always touted his potential, but he never came close to being elite in the light-heavyweight division.
Vladimir Matyushenko - A fairly legit guy, but long past his prime and I believe he was the oldest active member of the roster when Jones fought him? Also much smaller than Jones.
Ryan Bader - Good athlete, but always had plenty of holes in his game and has never looked elite. Jones also still had significant physical advantages over him.
Maurício Rua - I love me some Shogun, but we all know he is horribly inconsistent, and his best days have been behind him for quite some time. He had no cardio and never even got started in the Jones fight. Also much smaller than Jones.
Quinton Jackson - Used to be fairly legit, but hasn't been the same the last few years and obviously lost a lot of his interest and motivation. I also don't think his training has been great in a very long time.
Lyoto Machida - Crafty guy and had his moments, but let's be honest, he's a natural middleweight. Gave up a huge size and reach disadvantage to Jones. All that speed is pretty nullified when he has to cover twice as much distance as Jones.
Rashad Evans - Another natural middleweight who gave up significant physical disadvantages. Also already seemed to be on the down slope of his career at that point.
Vitor Belfort - Yet another middleweight. Came in as a late replacement, injured, and might have even got the win if he'd committed more to that armbar. Not bad for a guy who really shouldn't have even been fighting Jones.
Chael Sonnen - And finally, another middleweight who is even coming off a loss. Sonnen is at a severe physical disadvantage, and Jones is a nightmare stylistic match-up for him.
To sum it all up, while Jon Jones certainly had an impressive run, I feel that was more due to his opponents and match-ups than anything else. I still don't think he's ever truly been tested. I don't understand how you can give him such a high ranking when compared to other champs who have been much more tested.
Every single Jones fight has been a mismatch before it even gets started. He has a freakish reach advantage over everyone he faces, comes from a naturally athletically gifted family, and has pretty much faced exclusively middleweights, or guys who are on the down slope of their careers, or both for his entire title run.
Compare that to guys like GSP or Aldo. They have been thoroughly tested against guys just as big if not bigger, just as athletic if not more so, and guys just as much in their primes. Not a single person in the light-heavyweight division convinces me of being a threat to Jones. The only real close guy size-wise would be Gustaffson, but I've never been sold on him. He's always seemed lanky and awkward to me. Not nearly the natural athlete Jones is. A guy like Davis has the athleticism, but has large holes in his game, particularly in the striking.
So, really, who else is there to test a guy who was so tailor made for that division? Natural freak athlete with crazy reach, youth, decent skills and the ideal frame. The only other guy who was on the horizon was Dan Henderson. Notice a pattern? Another guy who spent a great deal of his career at middleweight, is pretty one-dimensional and 42 years old. Glover Teixeira? Not sold on that, either.
I'm rambling here, but I really just don't see how you can rate a guy who has never truly been tested and happens to be the only guy truly tailor made for the shallowest division in the UFC so highly. Even the heavyweight division has more depth with guys like Velasquez, Dos Santos, Cormier, Overeem and Werdum likely able to beat each other on any given night.
So, thoughts? Comments? Agree/disagree?