Everyone that watched “UFC on Versus: Vera vs. Jones” on Sunday night witnessed MMA’s “Next Big Thing” may actually come as advertised after Jon Jones served up one of the meanest elbows the Octagon has ever seen.
Ironically, the 22-year-old was looking to bounce back from the only blemish on his resume after he was awarded a disqualification loss for landing an illegal north-south elbow to Matt Hamill’s face at “The Ultimate Fighter Heavyweights Finale” back in December.
It can be argued that no fighter’s stock has risen more from a defeat, as Jones was handling the veteran fairly easily before their scrap was called.
Despite the light heavyweight’s impressive 9-1 record coming into the 1STBANK Center in Broomfield, Colorado, the Jackson Submission-trained athlete had yet to face a foe as accomplished as Brandon Vera, however welcomed the opportunity with open arms.
“I knew he’d be a step up in competition,” Jones stated after his brief exhibition. “I trained to the point where I felt as if I won it before I got in here. I studied all his footage and I almost felt as if I knew him before I stepped in here with him.”
“Bones” took the fight to Vera right from the jump and was able to secure two takedowns before jamming his left elbow into Vera’s right-upper cheek. The Filipino quickly rolled over in pain as Jones continued to drop bombs.
At the 3:19 mark in the opening stanza, referee Herb Dean had seen enough and pulled Jones off the battered Vera, who has now dropped two straight.
Following the contest, Jermey Botter of MMAHeavy.com Tweeted that Vera had suffered three broken facial bones courtesy of Jones’ superior craftsmanship.
After posting a performance like that, expectations just got even bigger for the talented youngster. Although he upgraded his up-and-comer status to I-have-arrived, Jones refuses to let his new-found fame jade him from reaching his ultimate goal.
“I try not to pay attention to the hype, but I do recognize that it’s there. I guess the only thing it does is make me try to live up to the potential,” a mature-sounding Jones stated. “I think that potential is the biggest thing to waste and it’s the worst thing to waste.
“I’ll make sure that doesn’t happen.”
What he has ensured is fans can expect to see him punch, kick and ‘bow his way to the top of the UFC’s sexiest division.