Reasons Why Greatness Is In Reach For Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson
By Christopher Jester
Greatness is within reach is the tagline for UFC 165. But it is not because of the height and reach of the fighters in the UFC main event. That aforementioned greatness is more so in reach for current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones. With a victory, Jon Jones can best Tito Ortiz’s consecutive title defenses. Could this mark him as the greatest light-heavyweight of all time? Is he already the greatest light-heavyweight of all time? The man standing in his way is the tough Swede Alexander Gustafsson.
With that in mind The Mauler could grasp greatness in just one fight – just as Chris Weidman took a step in the right direction with his knockout victory of UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva. Gustafsson will have a tough outing as Jones has only once really come close to any form of danger in all his UFC outings. The Swedish UFC fighter will have to shock the world to capture the title as he is a heavy underdog in this championship bout.
Gustafsson will have a rough fight against Jones, however. Although the size difference is not that much of a big deal in this particular fight, Jones still has much more experience as fighting as the taller fighter. He uses the distance in reach quite well and has a backwards evasive movement that keeps him out of danger. If Gustafsson finds a way to close the distance around that arm length, then he’ll have a much greater opportunity to put Jones in some form of danger.
Although Gustafsson is no slouch in the clinch, he should look to avoid it in most scenarios. Jones will have the advantage here and will likely look to take the fight down to the mat from this position as well. Gustafsson’s best opportunity is to circle the Octagon and pepper Jones with leg strikes until he can find the opening to close the distance where he can use his boxing.
However, it is for that last reason why victory is easier in reach for Jon Jones. Gustafsson has struggled in the past with fighters with a good takedowns and superb submission offense (i.e. his fight against Phil Davis). In that Davis fight, Gustafsson looked smothered and uncomfortable for the duration of the fight that took place on the ground. Jones has had more success on the ground, and can make that experience a fight changer. He is highly skillful at keeping his opponent where he wants them until he ready to drop those heavy elbows. But even if the elbows do not work, Jones can finish the fight with a submission.
This could potentially be great for both fighters. Gustafsson has the opportunity to dethrone the one man who is easily becoming the best fighter in the world. Defying all odds is a characteristic that fighters need in this current generation of mixed martial arts, and Gustafsson will need to catch lightning in a bottle to do so. On the other hand, Jon Jones could firmly continue to pour the cement for his legacy. A victory in this fight will mark him as the best light heavyweight in the world and possibly the history of the UFC.
Obviously, Jones is the one with more to lose though. He has the opportunity to become the most successful light heavyweight in the UFC based on title defenses. Second to that, is that he has the opportunity to tie Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz with fights finished in the light heavyweight division. If he finishes the fight in any fashion, he will tie those two fighters with 10 finishes inside the Octagon.
With Glover Teixeira lined up to face either fighter when they win, the light heavyweight division is still competitive despite Jones’s dominant reign at the top. Gustafsson can change matters if he finds a way to defeat Jon Jones. But if Jones win, the division will still have to face the terror of the young phenom. Greatness awaits either fighter, but all they have to do now is reach out and grab the victory from their opponent.
Follow Christopher “sLapDatSuCKa” Jester on Twitter @sLapDatSuCka
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