UFC 285: Jon Jones beats Ciryl Gane for heavyweight belt

The air of invincibility has returned for Jon Jones, and he seems poised to redeem the long run of destruction in a new weight class that so many anticipated a decade ago.

Somewhere around the two-year mark of Jon Jones’ first light-heavyweight title reign, when he was bulldozing virtually every former champion in recent years, it sure looked like it would be fun to see what this mid-20s prodigy could do in a second weight division .

How would this guy stack up against the likes of Cain Velasquez? Against Junior dos Santos? Imagine if Fedor Emelianenko finally went to the octagon to face him?

It should not be. Jones had other plans; Those plans were later derailed by his own demons and disastrous decisions.

Despite it all, he continued to win until the end of his impressive championship reign. (Note the plural and remember the demons and choices.)

Three years after putting aside a crown, Jones donned a new one. The now 35-year-old claimed the UFC heavyweight belt, which was set aside by lineal champion Francis Ngannou to explore the free hand.

Nothing too surprising about the way Jones (27-1, 17 finishes) swallowed Ciryl Gane barely two minutes into his heavyweight run. Fans who’ve followed his UFC journey from the start remember a young man who elbowed Vladimir Matyushenko to the ground, rolled over champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in New Jersey and ex-champions Quinton “Rampage” Jackson , Lyoto Machida and Vitor knocked out Belfort.

Snapping the neck of Gane (11-2, eight finishes) and securing a tap from the wrestling-deficient French was a setback for the former amateur wrestler, who spent years creatively knocking down competitors at 205 pounds.

Jones took three years off – a longer gap in competition than any gap previously imposed on him by the athletic commissions or the US Anti-Doping Agency – while adding bulk to his spindly 6-foot-4 frame. He weighed 248 pounds on Friday. His last official fight night weight of December 2018 was 222.5 (100 kg) according to the California State Athletic Commission.

A solid 25.5 extra pounds didn’t seem to slow him down in the limited time Jones and Gane spent toe-to-toe. He looked fuller on top – still lacking flesh on his notoriously thin calves – but it’s hard to tell if the extra bulk made the difference between a dominant win and a possible loss. A massive heavyweight wrestling edge can make all the difference, damn size.

Could Jon Jones have beaten dos Santos in 2013? Easily imaginable scenarios in which he would do that.

Emelianenko, at the end of his career? Hardly a doubt.

Velasquez, an All-Go All-American wrestler, would have been fascinating

None of these men would have been as tall as Gane, who arrived at a fit 247.5.

Even Stipe Miocic, the former two-time champion who was promoted to the new champion in July, competed as low as the 233 on fight night, according to CSAC data.

Does size really matter? Completed?

It may have played a role against Ngannou, the man who relinquished his title to leave the UFC as a free agent earlier in the year. Ngannou, the lineal heavyweight champion, snuck up to the 265-pound heavyweight barrier as a true and massive big man with rare strength in his hands for an MMA forward.

When Ngannou first won the crown by flattening Miocic two years ago, it looked like Jones was on deck. It clearly shouldn’t be. Jones chose to make his heavyweight debut once the champion put his title aside. Ngannou had not competed for 10 months when he finally made up his mind about Gane.

Never say never in MMA, but if Ngannou manages to hit a big payday in a boxing crossover or ends up with an MMA organization he’s happier with, don’t be surprised if Ngannou-Jones goes down as an all-time missed opportunity . Forget the idea of ​​reuniting the Ruler and UFC titles, at least for a while.

As for that UFC award, there’s little expectation of Jones entering his first (or next few) title defenses as a mere -175 favorite. The air of invincibility has returned for Jones, and he seems poised to redeem the long streak of destruction in a new weight class that so many anticipated a decade ago.

—New York Post

https://www.codesports.com.au/ufc/jon-jones-finally-fulfills-heavyweight-promise-as-ufc-left-wondering-what-could-have-been/news-story/988c5ee74bb390993381ab21abcaed08?nk=8db9beb386557bdcb3b381bd94a672e9-1678053965 UFC 285: Jon Jones beats Ciryl Gane for heavyweight belt

Ryan Sederquist

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