Jon Jones a star in the making?
On top of being extremely talented, Jones is a very bright and articulate young man that could be the face of MMA for years to come.
Despite mixed martial arts being one of the fastest growing sports in the world, there are some that still believe the sport is little more than human cock fighting.
But that’s where a fighter like Jon Jones could change that perception of the sport, and allow MMA to finally knock out boxing and even pro-wrestling as the number one combat sport on PPV.
When Muhammad Ali, who was then known as Cassius Clay, came on the seen, there were no boxers who could give you more than a few words on camera. Ali could hype a fight, talk all night and do it all in front of the bright lights. He took the sport of boxing to heights it had never seen before. When Ali's career was winding down, along came Sugar Ray Leonard, another talented, good-looking young man that could look straight into a camera and go word for word with any sports commentator.
If you look at the champions in the UFC, all are good in the octagon, but none of them are great on the microphone. The one thing that bridges the gap from being a star to being a superstar is charisma. Heavyweight champion Cain Velaquez seems to be a quiet guy while light heavyweight Rua, middleweight Anderson Silva and featherweight Jose Aldo are all Brazilians that speak very little English. Welterweight champion George St. Pierre speaks English pretty well, but it’s his second language. Bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz and lightweight champion Frankie Edgar are both Americans, but they fight in lighter weight divisions that don’t get as much promotion as the heavier weight classes. The UFC has several fighters that are good on the microphone -- Chael Sonnen, Stephan Bonnar, Quinton Jackson, Rashad Evans and Brock Lesnar. But in my opinion, none have the total package like Jon Jones.
If you look back over the last 3 1/2 years, you could see that UFC president Dana White did not push Jones up the ranks as fast as other fighters. They had a well-planned, methodical progression for each of Jones' fights. Even after the disqualification to Matt Hamill, they stepped up the competition to Brandon Vera for his next opponent.
Talking with Jones recently he said, “It is in God's will for me to be a champion right now … God has blessed me with a talent, and God has blessed me with an ability and this is something that he has given me and this is my time.”
Jon Jones has come to MMA at the right time, a time when the sport needs to broaden it’s audience and its appeal to mainstream sports enthusiasts. Come March 19, at UFC 128 many fans of MMA will be cheering, praying and seeing the dawn of an new era.