Nobody is more abreast to Jon Jones’ untapped potential than UFC president Dana White. Although the outspoken promoter knows he’s got a diamond in the rough – though it could be argued the 23-year-old is already bling blinging like a star – he claims the stud needs a lot more polish before he shines in a title fight.
“He’s been amazing. He’s got a lot to prove still though,” White told ESPN’s MMA Live crew. “This is a big fight for him [tonight]. Vladimir Matyushenko is a tough veteran and it’s going to be a big test for “Bones” Jones.”
The Jackson Submission trained light heavyweight owns a 10-1 resume and has posted devastating finished in eight of those wins. His only blemish came in a controversial disqualification when he landed an illegal north-south elbow to Matt Hamill’s dome late last year.
The youngster proved his mettle in his next outing by carving up Brandon Vera’s face with the vary elbow that cost him his only professional loss. There isn’t another fighter on the planet that carries as much hoopla as Jones does, however he’s remained humble and gracious throughout the way.
Apparently, it’s a good thing Jones knows his place because according to White, his hottest prospect is nowhere near the top of the 205-pound totem pole.
“He’s not very close yet. The kid obviously has potential,” White admitted. “Like I said, he’s got a tough test. “If he gets past Vlady, then I think he’s ready to break into the top of the heap. The top eight guys in the world.”
Tito Ortiz was 25 when he became the UFC’s youngest light heavyweight champion, so Jones has a slight window to take over the moniker and don Octagon gold. While fanboys across the globe have dubbed him the future of the sport, Jones’ Twitter page states “The Future is Now…”
Jones will attempt to take his next step toward greatness tonight inside the San Diego Arena in Southern California. The live Versus broadcast kicks off at 9PM ET/6PM PT.