LAS VEGAS, February 5 - Right after Jon Jones scored the biggest win of his career by submitting Ryan Bader in the second round of their UFC 126 bout at the Mandalay Bay Events Center Saturday night, he told color commentator Joe Rogan “I feel like it’s my time.” See post-fight interview
He had no idea how prophetic those words would be, as UFC President Dana White offered him a shot at Mauricio “Shogun” Rua’s light heavyweight title at UFC 128 in March after it was revealed that Rua’s original opponent, Rashad Evans, was forced out of the bout due to knee injury.
Needless to say, Jones accepted.
“I feel great,” he said. “I’m going for a world title, baby.”
And after his performance against the previously unbeaten Bader, it’s clear that the 12-1 Jonny “Bones” is ready for his first championship bout.
Jones looked a lot bigger than Bader as the two squared off to start the bout, and the New Yorker decided to test his foe on the mat as he scored a quick takedown. Jones, showing even more facets to his game, quickly transitioned to north-south position, where he locked in a tight choke. Bader stayed calm and eventually found his way out of danger, making it back to his feet moments later. While standing, Jones stalked his foe, and after landing with a kick, Bader shot for a takedown but was turned back. Jones followed up the stuff with ground strikes, then got the crowd into it with a leap over Bader that turned into a takedown and more ground strikes up until the bell.
Bader was tentative with his striking in round two, with Jones confidently walking forward and throwing and array of punches and kicks. As the round progressed, Bader gained confidence as he tagged Jones with a couple shots, but Jones was unfazed as he continued to mix his aggression with the presence to stop Bader’s takedowns. With 1:30 left, Bader was able to pull Jones to the mat, but Jones remained on top, controlling the action. Suddenly, Jones locked in a guillotine choke, and just as quickly, Bader was forced to tap, ending the bout at the 4:20 mark.
With the win, Jones improves to 12-1; Bader falls to 13-1.
Title-Bound: Jones Submits Bader, Faces Shogun in March
Jon Jones defeated Ryan Bader at UFC 126 and will now replace Rashad Evans against Mauricio Rua in the main event of UFC 128