Jon Jones' redemption story is complete — at least in his eyes. An emotional Jon Jones knelt in the Octagon after defeating Daniel Cormier for the second time, this to regain the UFC light heavyweight title he never truly lost.
Jones' was forced to vacate the title during the whirlwind that was his past 3 years. DUIs, hit-and-run charges, failed drug test and more led to two year-long suspensions. It was as if Jones took one step forward in his pursuit of MMA immortality and three giant leaps backward.
The truth remains the only man that can defeat Jon Jones, is Jon Jones.
At UFC 214 Jones didn't have to worry about getting in his own way. He weathered the early storm that was Cormier's close range striking and computed the information he saw. Jones and his cornermen noticed that Cormier dipped his head when throwing his effective looping hooks, most likely in an effort to close the long reach advantage Jones held over the champion. They used this tendency to land the blow that'd ultimately end the fight.
Cormier dipped right in an attempt to avoid a fainted Jones' body blow and ended up with a face full of shin bone. Jones' head kick landed perfectly on the temple and Cormier wobbled on uncertain footing. Jelly-legged and disheveled, Cormier retreated to the cage to grab his footing but Jones was able to trip him and mount him to finish the fight with thunderous elbows.
Thus, completing Jones' personal redemption story.
— Ahmar Khan (@AhmarSKhan) July 30, 2017
Those who've followed his career should be less inclined to believe the full 180 and smartly will take a wait-and-see approach. Jones has gone periods of time without incident but in the end, he's always reverted to his inner partying ways.
Is this a changed Jon Jones? Possibly. His post fight interview showed a sincere and humbled Jones, even thanking his once hated rival Cormier for being an inspiration.
"Daniel Cormier has been one of the biggest sources of motivation I’ve had in the last two-three years and I thank him for that and for pushing me to a higher level,” said Jones.
Still, we've also seen the remorseful Jon Jones arise publicly in the past and his actions eventually not live up to the changed man he portrayed. Time will tell if this is yet another portrayal of a changed man or the new and improved version of Jon Jones.
Until then, we will seemingly see the UFC's follow up to Mayweather-McGregor, Jones-Lesnar.
— GIF Elite (@GIFElite) July 30, 2017
That's right, Jon Jones grabbed the mic before exiting the Octagon and called out WWE Universal champion, and former UFC heavyweight champion, Brockkkkk Lessssssnar *Paul Heyman voice.*
Lesnar is currently serving a suspension for failing a pre and post UFC 200 drug test. The suspension was lowered to 6-months and he hasn't fought since the event in July of 2016, but the suspension doesn't begin until he re-enters into the drug testing pool again. That means 'The Beast' would have to officially revoke his retirement and submit himself to random drug testing over the next 6-months.
For Jon Jones, waiting that time is nothing compared to the length of his suspensions and the payday would easily become the greatest of his career.
And let's be honest — it's 2017 and this is just par for the course. Fans in all aspects of entertainment want the spectacle. It is why Floyd Mayweather is facing UFC champion Conor McGregor (0-0) in a boxing match and it's also why former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow has a baseball contract with the New York Mets organization.
If these sideshows make big money for the organizations involved expect this to become the new norm in professional sports.
All fans can do is buckle up and enjoy the circus.