Originally written on hov-mma  |  Last updated 11/18/14

Jon Jones had to climb the UFC ranks just like any other young up and comer. We tend to forget that he had seven dominant showings before being rewarded with his title shot against Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua. It was a different kind of climb though. Before the Tonight Show appearance, the Rashad Evans soap opera, and the eventual culmination into a Nike sponsorship - this was still a young kid - one who would be forced to overcome multiple career adversities.  It was like watching LeBron James in the 2003 McDonalds All-American game. We all knew Jon Jones would be on top of the world one day, it was just a matter of when, and what kind of champion he would be. Let's go back to his fight against Brandon Vera, a fight that took place just over three years ago from today, day where Jones will attempt to tie Tito Ortiz's record for most successful light heavyweight title defenses with five. Brandon Vera was a fighter that had aspirations of becoming a two-division champion in the UFC. In Jon Jones, he would be taking on a man that had to of reminded him at least a little bit of himself, and in hindsight, what he could have been. While Vera certainly didn't amount to even half of what he could have, he also wasn't blessed with the natural gifts we saw in 'Bones'.  It's like God gives him a new pair of elbows on the morning of each fight and says "Here son, now go create some beautiful unadulterated violence in my name." Jones' first three UFC victories were fun to watch. His victories over Gusmao, Bonnar, and O' Brien made it clear that we were going to witness a special career from a fighter with unlimited upside and an inhuman reach advantage over anyone on the heavyweight roster let alone inside of the light heavyweight division. But I believe it was this fight against Brandon Vera that showed the world how scary of a finisher Jon Jones can be. Followed by the Matyushenko contest, and preceded by the Hamill DQ that in reality was a victory, we learned that we were dealing with a freak athlete, one that could essentially write his own script when inside of the Octagon. Present day, it's tough to imagine mixed martial arts without Jon Jones as a champion. Below you can relive one of his most violent finishes, one that reeked of the hunger. The hunger to become what he is today.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Rex Ryan praises Patriots, calls Deflategate 'unfortunate'

Brady hopes Peyton Manning comes back next season

Report: Thibodeau’s relationship with Bulls 'beyond repair'

Joe Montana pins blame for Deflategate on Tom Brady

NFLPA boss: No Deflategate interviews until after SB

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Blandino: Deflategate no sting; PSI in footballs not logged in

Aaron Hernandez’s DNA found on bullet casing, joint near body

Thomas upset he was tested for PEDs over health statement

Marshawn’s press conference to end all press conferences

NFL to assist Seahawks in ID'ing Pats' ineligible receiver sets

Josh Gordon in essay: I'm not an addict

WATCH: Timberwolves throw shade at Kevin Love in promo

Tom Izzo: 'The Twitter' may have affected team's confidence

Measles outbreak hits Arizona days before Super Bowl

Proposed pace-of-play rule changes, by the numbers

Super Bowl XLIX should smash TV viewership record yet again

NFL, officials, Carroll disagree on ineligible player rules

Seattle business rolling 12,000 joints for Super Bowl

How Yardbarker got Marshawn Lynch to open up back in 2008

Super Bowl records that won't fall anytime soon

Richard Sherman, girlfriend expecting baby any day

15 amazing Super Bowl XLIX stats

Pats fans buy Super Bowl tickets, told they're unavailable

MMA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Rex Ryan downplays Deflategate

Brady hopes Manning comes back

The worst Super Bowl commercials of all-time

SB anthem, halftime performers through the years

Super Bowl should smash TV records

Super Bowl records unlikely to fall

15 amazing Super Bowl XLIX stats

Teammate: Manziel not a joke

Ten most underrated SB performances

Knicks ‘in play’ for Kevin Durant?

Ex-QB: Everyone deflates footballs

Where did 'Hawks, Pats find players?

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.