|In the photo: Daniel "DC" Cormier (middle) and Jon "Bones" Jones (in black shirt) / Photo by: legendashow via Flickr|
The third round of UFC 214's main event saw Jon "Bones" Jones landing a head kick that staggered Daniel "DC" Cormier, leaving the champion open to a barrage of strikes that led to the challenger's second UFC Light Heavyweight title.As Bruce Buffer announced his victory, Jones could not help but kneel to the ground after the belt was wrapped around his waist.
“I made it back, man I let my family, my parents, my co-workers down … as long as you don’t quit, it’s never over.”
These were the words that the champion uttered as he completed his comeback before challenging former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar:
“If you want to know what it feels like to get your [rear] kicked by a guy 40 pounds less than you, meet me in the octagon.”
The best is yet to come for Jones as he returns to his rightful throne, yet a retrospective of his journey will help readers get acquainted with the two-time UFC Light Heavyweight Champion.
The birth of "Bones"
In high school, Jones was recognized as a standout high school wrestler who became a state champion at Union-Endicott High School.Other than being a wrestler, he was a defensive lineman in football, yet due to his frame the coach baptized him with the nickname, "Bones."
While his brothers Arthur and Chandler have become NFL players, he opted to walk his own path as he dropped out of Morrisville State College to start his MMA career.
Path to Greatness
In 2008, Jones made his MMA debut and went on to register a 6-0 record in just three months.Five of these wins were by way of either TKO or KO, while a single win came by way of submission via guillotine choke.
This resume has attracted UFC's attention who sought his services by becoming Tomasz Drwal's late replacement at UFC 87.
His debut performance, which featured spinning elbows and a spinning back kick, has earned him a unanimous decision (UD) victory and opportunities to battle light heavyweight figures such as Stephan "The American Psycho" Bonnar, Jake "Irish" O'Brien, Brandon "The Truth" Vera, and Ryan "Darth" Bader.
Jones went on to claim "Knockout of the Night" honors in his TKO win over Vera, while he secured his first "Submission of the Night" award by applying a guillotine choke on Bader.
Following his win over Bader, the UFC has offered Jones with a chance of a lifetime, to battle Mauricio "Shogun" Rua for the Light Heavyweight Championship.This comes after reports that "Suga" Rashad Evans injured his knee during training.
By March 19, 2011, Jones has cemented his place in UFC's history as the youngest UFC champion at age 23 with a TKO win over Rua.
Living to the hype
UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes once said, "You are not really a champion until you defend your title."
And Jones went on to do just that with his first title defense at UFC 135 against Quinton "Rampage" Jackson.Jones' submission win in the 4th round, which also enabled him to secure his first "Fight of the Night" honors, making him the first UFC fighter to submit Jackson.
Following his first title defense, he ended 2011 on a winning note by scoring a technical submission win over Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida, enabling him also to secure his second consecutive "Fight of the Night" honors.The year 2011 was indeed his year.
On April 21, 2012, his long-awaited battle against Evans, his former teammate, has finally culminated.In the end, however, Jones defended his crown for the third time via unanimous decision.
Five months later, Jones was set to defend his throne against Vitor "The Phenom" Belfort.After almost getting submitted in round one via armbar, Jones went to sustain his reign by scoring a submission win over Belfort.
The fight also enabled Jones to secure his first "Submission of the Night" honors since submitting Bader and tie Chuck Liddell for the most number of title defenses.
Writer Jeff Wagenheim mentioned that Jones' refusal to lose was the match's highlight reel.
In The Ultimate Fighter 17, Jones was handpicked to coach opposite Chael Sonnen.The two are set to battle at UFC 159 following their coaching stints.Once again, Jones was able to defend his throne with a TKO win at the very first round.In addition, he was tied with Tito Ortiz for the most number of consecutive title defenses in his weight class.
On September 21, 2013, Jones defended his title against Alexander "The Mauler" Gustafsson.The fight's highlight was Gustafsson's ability to take down Jones, making him the first fighter to do so.Prior to the fight, Jones was notorious for his takedown defense rate of 100 percent.In the end, Jones escaped with a unanimous decision win and secured his third "Fight of the Night" honors.
Following his win against "The Mauler," Jones set his sights on his title defense against Glover Teixeira at UFC 172.Again, Jones defended his title via unanimous decision.
On January 3, 2015, Jones had once again sustained his crown with a unanimous decision win over Cormier.A takeaway from this fight is Jones becoming the first person to take Cormier down with three takedowns.However, things went downhill from this point.
The decline and comeback
On May 23, 2015, Jones was stripped of the title and was indefinitely suspended from the UFC, following a hit-and-run incident.In turn, Daniel Cormier replaced the former champion and clinched his UFC Light Heavyweight Championship with a win over Anthony Johnson.
Nearly six months after his suspension, Jones was reinstated and clinched the interim title after winning against Ovince Saint Preux, Cormier's replacement at UFC 197.This would appear as the beginning of Jones' comeback trail
Yet, his journey faced another setback as the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced his one-year suspension for an anti-doping policy violation on November 7, 2016.Hence, he was stripped of his interim title.The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) also suspended him for one year on December 15.
On July 29, 2017, Jones' comeback trail had come to a triumphant end as he once again clinched the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship with a third round KO win over Cormier.