It’s been a decade since we first saw Jon Jones on the UFC throne. 23 years, eight months, and one day, then an extremely talented young fighter had when he was given the opportunity to take the belt from a fighter who was already a legend and icon at the time, Maurizio Shogun Rui.
He succeeded in that, after which the story of the fighter who is considered by many today to be the greatest of all time began to build. At the time, Jones had no history of incidents, controversial statements, or even clashes with dissidents.
He was just a young fighter from Jackson Winkeljohn Hall, to which he arrived from his native New York, a fighter who delighted in his first performances inside the Octagon with a combination of talent, tactical prowess, and physicality.
But who could have believed that even ten years later that guy would be undefeated (if we omit the disqualification against Hamill)? “Just a skinny 23-year-old doing mans work,” is what Jones had to say about his great success on his tenth anniversary, along with a photo he shared on Twitter.
And it was a different Jones in physique and fighting style. A guy who did a lot of pure talent and an amazing sense of fighting. The way he dominated against the Shogun from the first minute was fascinating. It was as if he felt every step of the Brazilian and as if he knew a few seconds in advance what to do.
For a full two rounds, Jones left him with no chance, to finish the job in the third and shorten the suffering of the Shogun and all those millions of fans who have followed him since the time he delighted in Pride as the most attractive fighter in the world.
On that day, success was achieved that no one has come close to this day. Jones is arguably the youngest UFC champion in history.
There have been attempts to knock him on the floor, such ambitions had fighters like Michael McDonald and more recently Macy Barber or Edmen Shahbazyan.
They all fell on their way to the throne. It didn't happen to Jones. Nowadays, when more and more success outside the Octagon is needed to make it to the UFC, it’s hard to conclude how achievable Jones ’record is at all.
In the UFC, perhaps just one or two names appear in the early 20s. In addition, today there is stronger competition and it is necessary to accumulate more victories than before, in order to have the opportunity to fight for the title.
You need to have the charisma to help you skip some steps, martial qualities, and there are always some things you just have to sort out. Can it happen that someone succeeds before they turn 23 years and eight months? So far no one has come even close and that is exactly what makes Jon Jones’s success one of the most valuable UFC records.