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UFC 140 Morning After: Jon Jones, a Champ With Staying Power

Jon JonesUFCChuck Liddell

. It seems like only a matter of time before he's the most dominant light heavyweight champion we've ever seen inside the Octagon.

Lyoto MachidaUFC 140

, has been the light heavyweight champion for less than nine months, and it might seem premature to proclaim him a dominant champion when he's been a champion for such a short period of time. But the talented 205-pound weight class has been an almost impossible class to rule for any significant period of time.

Until Jones, who in the last nine months has won the belt and dispatched two challengers, dominating all three of those title fights.

Randy CoutureForrest GriffinRashad Evans

. Evans lost his first title defense to Machida. Machida beat Shogun Rua in a controversial decision in his first title defense, then lost to Rua in his next fight. Rua lost his first title defense to Jones.

Dan HendersonPhil Davis

-- are all great fighters, but all of them would be huge betting underdogs against Jones.

The really amazing thing about the 24-year-old Jones is that he became a UFC champion before he even reached his prime. It's shocking to think this, but we might not have seen the best Jon Jones yet. He just completed a 4-0 record in 2011 that was as good a year as we've ever seen anyone have in the Octagon, and yet he might be a better fighter in 2012.

The bottom line is that we're seeing a champion in Jon Jones who might stay the champion for the better part of this decade. There's no telling how long he might be the best at what he does.

UFC 140 notes
-- According to Compustrike, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira outlanded Frank Mir in total strikes, 31-4. And yet Mir still managed to survive the barrage of punches from Nogueira and get into position to finish Nogueira with a kimura. That was a gutsy showing from Mir.

-- It was nice to see Frank Shamrock on a UFC broadcast for the first time in more than a decade. You had to be looking closely to see him, but Shamrock was in Brian Ebersole's corner, marking the first time he's been spotted at a UFC event since the last time he fought for the promotion, in 1999. Here's hoping Shamrock and the UFC brass eventually bury the hatchet. Shamrock is an MMA legend whose career ought to be celebrated by the UFC.

-- The UFC has something special on its hands in the Korean Zombie, Chan Sung Jung. There are few fighters in the sport who are as consistently entertaining, win or lose, as Jung, who tied the UFC record for fastest knockout with his seven-second dispatching of Mark Hominick on Saturday night. I don't think Jung is good enough to pose much of a threat to featherweight champion Jose Aldo, but he's a legitimate opponent to almost anyone else at 145 pounds. The UFC desperately needs some star power in the featherweight class, and Jung is one of the few little guys who has really caught on with the fans.

-- Constantinos Philippou was about as impressive as anyone we saw inside the Octagon at UFC 140 in his first-round TKO victory over Jared Hamman. Philippou hammered away at Hamman standing and showed a real killer instinct on the ground, immediately pouncing on Hamman and going for finishes when he knocked him down. Philippou is a vicious striker and has now won two fights in a row.

-- It was surprising how bad Krzysztof Soszynski's striking defense looked in his first-round knockout loss to Igor Pokrajac, but maybe it shouldn't have been. Soszynski has been around a long time and had some very impressive fights, but he has too often shown a tendency to wilt when he gets hit hard. This was Soszynski's sixth loss by knockout or TKO.

-- It wouldn't be surprising if the UFC decides to tell Tito Ortiz to hang up the gloves after his loss to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, considering that Ortiz is now 1-6-1 in his last eight fights. But I think Ortiz has done enough in the sport that he has earned the right to go out on his own terms, and I'd like to see him get another fight, as he said he wants. Stephan Bonnar would make a lot of sense as an opponent for Ortiz.

UFC 140 quotes
"It's an honor to be here. One of my dreams was to be here with Joe Rogan. I did it!" -- Yves Jabouin as Joe Rogan interviewed him in the Octagon after his split decision victory over Walel Watson.

"This fight's kind of a wash. I apologize to John for missing weight. Put a little asterisk next to the victory because I didn't make weight." -- Dennis Hallman, being a stand-up guy after coming in 2.5 pounds over for his lightweight fight with John Makdessi. Hallman said his move down from welterweight is permanent, so he's going to need to do a better job of getting the pounds off.

"I feel so great. t's like a dream come true. Tito Ortiz is a legend of the sport. I want to say thanks for fighting him." -- Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, showing humility after beating Ortiz.

Good call
Referee Big John McCarthy stopped the first fight of the night at exactly the right time, with 24 seconds left in the second round, as John Cholish was teeing off on Mitch Clarke on the ground. Clarke wasn't very badly hurt and seemed disappointed with the stoppage, but he also wasn't doing anything to fight back, simply turtling up and letting Cholish hit him. With Clarke looking upset at McCarthy stepping in, McCarthy patted him and said, "You got hit with a good shot."

Bad call
Referee Josh Rosenthal should have taken a point away from John Makdessi for grabbing the fence immediately after Rosenthal warned him not to. As Dennis Hallman tried to take Makdessi down early in the fight, Makdessi grabbed the fence to stay up, and Rosenthal immediately warned Makdessi to let go of the fence. Makdessi complied, but only for a couple of seconds before he grabbed the fence again as Hallman tried to take him down again. Rosenthal warned Makdessi again, but at that point he should have also deducted a point. It didn't really matter because Hallman took Makdessi down in the first round and submitted him, but I'd like to see referees more assertively enforcing the rules against grabbing the fence. Too many fighters get away with stopping takedowns by breaking the rules.

Stock up
Jake Hecht looked good in his UFC debut, unleashing a brutal elbow to hurt Rich Attonito in the second round and then finishing him with punches on the ground. Hecht had also looked solid from his back in the first round, and he appears to be a promising UFC newcomer.

Stock down
Nik Lentz went 5-0-1 with one no contest in his first seven UFC fights, and he consistently used his superior wrestling and grappling to control his opponents and grind out wins on the ground. But on Saturday night Mark Bocek beat Lentz at his own game, controlling Lentz on the ground and winning a unanimous decision, 30-27 on all three judges' cards. Lentz is a solid lightweight, but we saw on Saturday night that when he runs into a superior grappler, there's not much else he can do.

Fight I want to see next
Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans. I don't like any light heavyweight's chances against Jones, but I at least like the matchup of Jones against Evans, his former friend and training partner who's now a bitter rival. If Evans beats Davis, the UFC might finally book that long-awaited grudge match.