UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones credits one fight with helping put him on the MMA map: Stephan Bonnar.
Jones, who met Bonnar three years ago, has gone on to defeat the likes of Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Rashad Evans, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Vitor Belfort and Lyoto Machida.
“I realized things were going great right away when I beat Stephan Bonnar,” said Jones, during a recent interview with Bleacher Report. “Stephan is a guy who had a big name in the sport and was highly respected. I was a nobody going into that fight. For me to beat him, (that) showed me there was something different going on. Upsetting a fighter who was beyond me in that moment was special.”
Jones (17-1) would be undefeated in his career had it not been for a disqualification loss against Matt Hamill in 2009. He went on to replace then-teammate Evans in a title fight, defeating Rua and successfully defending his belt four times since.
“Bones” will face his first non-former UFC champion in several fights when he meets Chael Sonnen in 2013. The two will also be on the next season of The Ultimate Fighter, which airs in January.
Photo credit: MMA Fighting