It’s been a tough year for the pound-for-pound kings of mixed martial arts.
First middleweight champion Anderson Silva lost his title, caught clowning once too often in the cage. And on Saturday, light-heavyweight title-holder Jon (Bones) Jones — his successor as the top pound-for-pound fighter on the planet — was pushed to the limit by 8-1 underdog Alexander (The Mauler) Gustafsson at UFC 165.
Some fear that welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre could also be in a long — or short — night in November when he faces top 170-pound contender Johny (Bigg Rigg) Hendricks.
Such is the beauty of mixed martial arts, where there are so many ways to win and lose. And champions wear the biggest targets on their back.
There was little beauty in Saturday’s main event at UFC 165, other than marvelling at the amount of punishment two superbly conditioned and trained athletes can absorb.
It was like watching a time-lapse video of two bodies breaking down. Fascinating but brutal.
Jones rallied to win a stirring five-round decision, with the judges scoring it 48-47, 48-47 and 49-46 for the champion. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press)