Superfights have always captured the imagination of mixed martial arts fans around the world. Since the inception of the UFC, fighters have aimed to be crowned not only the best in the world but the best ever. From the poise of Royce Gracie to the power of Brock Lesnar, every fighter dreams of a superfight. To determine who is the best ever.
We haven’t seen a Heavyweight Superfight between two huge stars in the UFC face-off, and to finally get one to determine the baddest man on the planet- as well as the greatest ever, would be incredible. Jon Jones has been with the UFC since 2009 and has risen to the top, and cemented his name as arguably the greatest to ever grace the octagon. The conversation always falls to Jones, GSP, and Anderson Silva.
He currently has the longest reach and holds the record for being the youngest champion in UFC History. Jon Jones has the record for most title wins with 14, and is still undefeated in the octagon. His only loss on record came via DQ way back in December 2009 for landing illegal downward elbows on Matt Hamill. Jones has been virtually unstoppable since he burst on the scene on two weeks’ notice against undefeated Andre Gusmao at UFC 87.
He has beaten some of the best UFC fighters to ever grace the octagon, a lot of whom are future and current UFC Hall of Famers. Arguably the greatest mixed martial artist of all time, Jon Jones has been almost perfect within the octagon, his only real issue has come out of the octagon within his personal life but even that hasn’t deterred him from winning.
Jon Jones has been almost superhuman inside the octagon, and the closest fighter to take him in deep waters was Alexander Gustafsson. The Mauler, however, has had two chances and was unable to do better in their second fight. It seemed that no one could break Jones and that a move towards a Heavyweight Superfight was inevitable.
Until a certain Dominick Reyes exploded in the division and rose quickly to book an intriguing bout with the Light Heavyweight Champion. Many fans, fighters and the UFC president himself had Reyes winning the fight 3 rounds to 2, but as controversial as the fight was, Jones took the judge’s decision.
Most roads led to a rematch but following a public spat between Jones and Dana, Jones relinquished his title. Jones had received more online scrutiny following his disapproval regarding Khabib’s claim as the P4P king. He was also involved in a more public feud with current Middleweight King Israel Adesanya. It all started when Jones took offense after Adesanya said that he could beat Bones in a superfight.
Since then, the dislike has escalated and the animosity has increased- much to the fan’s approval. Izzy may be winning the Twitter war for now, but does he have what it takes to convincingly beat Jon Jones in the octagon in what would be a Heavyweight Superfight for the ages.
The Last Stylebender
Israel ‘Last Stylebender’ Adesanya traces his origins to Nigeria but currently is a New Zealand citizen. He has also fought in various combat sports disciplines, notably Kickboxing. His meticulous striking is continuously shown in his fighting, and his mastery just keeps improving.
Along with Anderson Silva, Izzy is widely regarded as one of the most potent strikers in the world of martial arts. A fighter that seemingly has no weaknesses, not shy of confidence and charisma, his character is one of a kind and his self-belief is second to none. Adesanya is quick on the mic as he is with his hands, he is as precise with his kicks as he is at punchlines, and his defense is as graceful as his dancing.
Elite contenders in the Middleweight division have all tried to work out the intricacy and dynamism of Adesanya, but were only brazenly bedazzled by Izzy’s movement, striking, and octagon control. Jon Jones was linked with a heavyweight superfight against Francis Ngannou, but both fighters were unable to agree to terms and that fight was canceled. Ngannou gets another shot at the current King, Stipe Miocic, and the Heavyweight title, whilst Jon Jones waits for the winner.
Izzy makes his jump to Light Heavyweight and takes on Jan Blachowicz in a champion vs champion superfight for the Light Heavyweight crown. Should Adesanya win the title, not only will he be the fastest champ champ in UFC history, but it would sure as hell piss of Jones. Whichever way both fights play out, by the time fall hits our shores, we could be on the cusps of one of the greatest Heavyweight Superfights the UFC has ever had.
The Superfight That Has No Apparent Weaknesses
Many fighters are good at one or more disciplines. That’s what makes them an elite martial artist, competing against the best in the world. Styles make a superfight, and the best fights are fought when two fighters from different disciplines clash to outwit and break down the other. Its strength vs weakness, BJJ vs striker, wrestling vs kickboxing, boxing vs muay Thai. UFC purists have been treated to imaginative fights in the past, and this one is like no other.
Jon Jones UFC record stands at 26-1-0 (1 no contest vs DC because of failed drug test), an 84.5” reach, and a 95% takedown defense. Jonny ‘Bones’ Jones utilizes a strong jab and push kick to the opponent’s knee in order to keep them at bay. His dexterity and aptitude to stay standing against some of the strongest wrestlers in the division is a big part of what makes him hard to stop.
His wrestling against DC was exceptional, and the ease at which he was able to take down DC at will came as a surprise to many. DC was unable to impose his will, and could not gain any advantage in the fight. Adesanya is a newcomer to mixed martial arts, and many fans consider wrestling to be his weakness. This is fairly absurd to acknowledge because he has never been taken down in his 20 UFC fights.
Adesanya has stopped 85% of takedown attempts and has stopped wrestlers like Yoel Romero and Kelvin Gastelum from getting comfortable with their ground game. He displays exceptional fight IQ and does not display any apparent weaknesses. It would be interesting to see how Izzy fairs up on the ground if Jones can take him down, and I do expect Jones to use his clinch and wrestling as often as he can to gain an advantage over the younger, faster striker.
“I hope they start shooting on me more cause I want to choke somebody out,” Adesanya told MMA Fighting recently. “I mean people were shooting on me at the beginning of my UFC career, and then they realized, ‘We can’t be doing that, f**k it let’s strike, oh we can’t do that [either].”
Speed vs Technique
Both fighters possess an array of dynamic strikes in their arsenal. Jones in particular is notorious for his ability to attack from acute angles. As you’re trying to figure out how to pressurize through his 84.5” reach he throws a spinning side kick, a spinning elbow, or a side kick to the knee. He’s as good at keeping his opponents second guessing and thinking about what he’s going to do as he is staying off of his back.
Adesanya is fast, agile and precise. The former kickboxing champion possesses incredible agility, precision and accuracy in his hands and legs, and after the Paulo Costa fight no one can call his knockout power a fluke. Adesanya is also a master at using his range for octagon control and whilst opponents are trying to stay out of his reach, he is planning the next 4 moves.
He keeps opponents at bay and at an accessible range to hit them at will. A superfight consisting of two technical strikers, and exceptional fight IQ would leave both purists and casual MMA fans excited. Jones in particular has displayed his fight IQ when he was thrown in hot water against fighters like Alexander Gustafsson and Dominick Reyes. Both opponents seemed to be taking the earlier rounds, but it’s particularly in the championship rounds that Jones thrives in.
Adesanya has no problem being patient and picking out his opponents through rounds before going in for the kill. This stems from his experience in kickboxing, and he has shown in the Gastelum and Silva fights, that he does have a tough chin. You could say that the Silva vs Adesanya bout was a superfight for the ages or a passing of the torch, but Adesanya is definitely a lot of what the Spider was, and possibly more.
Superfight Charisma vs Mentality
The technique, ability and experience of both fighters are well noted. Phenomenal fighters they are, each fighter has proven time and time again why they are considered the best in the business. Muhammad Ali once said that battles are often won before entering the ring, and it is well documented that amazing fights in the UFC are created in the pre-fight promo. Adesanya is a master at trash talk and getting into his opponents head, he is also self assured, confident and has a mind of steel.
Jon Jones isn’t the best at trash talk, but he is capable of holding his own on the microphone. He isn’t easy to threaten or scare, and as confident as he is in his skillset, Jones doesn’t really care to trash talk unless he has to. It will intriguing to see the way he handles Adesanya’s ability to rile up the crowd and attempt to get into Bones head.
Each fighter has a unique personality and no doubt are both loved and hated by many. The mindset of both fighters are nothing less than perfection, composure and confidence. Neither fighter would take losing lightly, and are extremely exciting to watch. The difference between Izzy and Bones to other fighters is that not only are they the best, but they also keep improving. That is scary for others that aim to catch up to them.
The Heavyweight Superfight
Whether or not the Heavyweight Superfight happens is irrelevant. 2021 is a massive year for UFC fans, fighters, and the martial arts world at large. Izzy and Bones have a lot to fight for in 2021, and we could witness history multiple times over. By the time Bones and Izzy meet, it could be the light heavyweight champion vs the heavyweight champion. That is an exciting thought, should Izzy beat Jan for the LHW crown, will he relinquish the middleweight belt, or aim to become a 3 division champion – something not completely absurd when discussing the charisma of Adesanya.
Adesanya might have to work hard on his ground game to counter the dominant performance of Jones. He continuously switches positions, rains down elbows and fists, and uses his lanky physique to lock in and suffocate opponents. Izzy might have to display his self-acclaimed grappling skills, or he could do something more shocking and knock out Jones for the first time.
It would be interesting to see just how much the added weight will affect both fighter’s techniques and arsenal. Their ability to control the stand-up, octagon and range are recipes for a very unique, exciting, and must watch superfight for the ages.
The future of Adesanya is bright and could be interesting for his legacy. Jon Jones has the ability to put all doubts to rest and be crowned the greatest pound-for-pound martial artist of all time. The chills that run through my veins when I think of Bruce Buffer announcing both fighters are second to none, and hopefully by the time these two warriors do battle, the fans will be back to add to the already extraordinary experience.
Featured Image Credits to Embed from Getty Images
Also, be sure to check out the Overtime Heroics Forums page to join in on the discussion!