After a three-year layoff, Jon Jones makes his return to the Octagon this Saturday at UFC 285. The 35-year-old, who is already considered the GOAT in some MMA circles, will try his luck at heavyweight after teasing a jump to 265 pounds for years.
New UFC fans might not remember (or appreciate) Jones’ greatness in the sport. That’s why I thought – in one of my regular spurts of genius – that it’d be fun to relive some of the New Mexico native’s top finishes in his career as a reminder of what we might see this weekend.
Jon Jones’ Top Finishes
Here are the top five Jon Jones finishes. Watch for him to use some of these moves Saturday vs Ciryl Gane.
5. UFC 232: Jones vs Gustafsson 2
After a wicked battle between Jones and Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165, these two light heavyweights were bound to have a rematch. The second fight, however, went nothing like the first.
Jones put a beating on the Swede in the second round by battering Gustafsson’s back leg, then lunging into an easy takedown. From there, “Bones” did what he does best – he passed the guard and inflicted a wicked ground-and-pound attack until the referee stepped in.
4. UFC 128: Shogun vs Jones
How could we forget this historic victory? This was a vintage Jones performance, as he used his long limbs to creatively dismantle the champion, Shogun Rua. By the third round, the Brazilian was drained, and that’s when Jones exploded.
On the ground, he rained down elbows with all his might, forcing Rua to pop up and retreat to the fence. Two more shots – a punch to the body and a knee to the head – sent a battered Rua tumbling to the canvas. With that stoppage, Jones claimed the light heavyweight title at 23 years old, making him the youngest champ in promotion history.
3. UFC 152: Jones vs Belfort
After Jones snatched the belt from Rua and defended a few times, the UFC threw everyone in the division at the champion. Jones entered UFC 152 as a -875 favorite against Vitor Belfort. Shockingly, the Brazilian came closer than anyone else to defeating the light heavyweight GOAT.
A vicious hanging armbar made Jones look human as he grimaced and barely wiggled free. After that, though, the champ was incensed. By Round 4, Jones took a mounted crucifix position and submitted Belfort with ease. On paper, it looked like another easy win, but this fight will always be remembered as the bout where Jones nearly lost his belt.
2. UFC 214: Cormier vs Jones 2
The most famous rivalry in UFC history came to a violent conclusion at UFC 214 when Jones stopped Daniel Cormier in Round 3. Jones established the body early in the fight, forcing DC to cover up his stomach area. With that trap set, Bones exploded with a whipping left kick, snapping Cormier’s head back. A scramble ensued and Jones clobbered his nemesis for a TKO victory.
A few months later, the fight was ruled a no contest after it was revealed Jones tested positive for steroids. Still, though, this fight marks a momentous chapter in the UFC history books and in Jones’ career.
1. UFC 140: Jones vs Machida
This is by far Jones’ most famous finish. The light heavyweight champ was always known as a serious submission threat, but his creativity vs Lyoto Machida at UFC 140 was on another level.
Machida landed some strong punches early in the fight, though like all Jones’ opponents, he was no match for Bones in the clinch. Near the end of the second round, Jones cranked Machida with a superman punch and dragged his limp body to the fence. With the Brazilian on shaky legs, Jones tucked his elbows and squeezed, securing a submission and dropping an unconscious Machida to the floor.
Jones was criticized for his lack of respect after nonchalantly strewing his opponent’s rag-dolled body to the floor, but for our sake, the stoppage was easily one of the most badass moves in UFC history.
When is Jon Jones' next fight?
Jon Jones takes on Ciryl Gane at UFC 285 on March 4. Visit our Jones vs Gane preview page for full odds and picks on the heavyweight championship fight.