As the youngest UFC champion ever, Jon Jones has garnered his fair share of criticism. One of his most vocal critics was his opponent at Saturday’s UFC event: Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Throughout the weeks leading to their Sept. 24 fight, Jackson lambasted Jones for being cocky. This sentiment was then echoed by members of the press and MMA fans. But at UFC 135, Jones proved that arrogance wasn’t the driving force behind his game.
Their fight, the main event of UFC 135, lasted four five-minute rounds, with Jones clearly dominating. Many fans and insiders thought that Jones wouldn’t last, given Jackson’s well-known status as a power puncher and knockout artist. However, Jackson was the one facing a barrage of punches and kicks once the two warriors stepped into the Octagon; and by the fourth round, he was a weakened and battered man. Jones won the fight, marking the first time Jackson had ever been stopped in the UFC. It was also his first loss by stoppage since 2005.
Jones refused to let negative criticism change his game. Rather, he chose to demonstrate that he deserved to go up against Jackson by clearly and confidently dominating the veteran fighter. As long as he retains his focus and constantly seeks to improve his performance, Jones will continue to prove his critics wrong—and even Jackson acknowledged Jones was the superior fighter in their battle.