NEWARK - Jon Jones just wanted his waterfall. A peaceful and picturesque nature scene to meditate hours before the biggest night in his 23 years on this planet.
Life, as with the sport he participates in - mixed martial arts - things do not remain tranquil for very long. Heck, they barely even start out that way.
Jones, from upstate New York, was en route to a waterfall in a rough-and-tumble section of nearby Paterson with his trainers Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn, two of the best there are. As they prepared to get out of the car, they witnessed a man smash a woman's car window and steal her GPS. Jackson and Winkeljohn took off after him. Jones, delayed momentarily by shock, followed in pursuit and helped apprehend the perpetrator.
"We all felt like superheroes," Jones said.
A few hours later, Jones the crime fighter turned back into Jones the fighter, where he is even more of a superhero. Jones spent three rounds pummeling Mauricio "Shogun" Rua to win the light heavyweight title by technical knockout in UFC 128 at the Prudential Center on Saturday night.
If there was one fighter who would probably do that right now, it would be Jones (13-1). With just three years training, the 2005 New York state high school wrestling champion redefines the sport each fight. He puts the art in mixed martial arts, from the spinning backfists to the reverse elbow from short range.
Jones had the edge in total strikes landed, 87-13, and connected on 66 power strikes compared to five for Rua, one of hardest strikers in the 205-pound division. The final blow came via a knee to the head midway through the third round. As referee Herb Dean stepped in to stop the bout, Rua could be seen tapping out. He'd had enough, by his account, the referee's account and that of the 12,600 fans in the crowd.
Up next for Jones will be a title defense against Rashad Evans, a teammate of his at Jackson's Submission Fighting in Albuquerque, N.M. Evans was originally scheduled to fight Rua on Saturday but a knee injury sidelined him. Jones earned the shot after beating then undefeated Ryan Bader at UFC 126 in February.
There is no timetable for that fight yet, White said, but he has an idea of what he'd like to see happen.
"I'd like him to stop fighting crime two hours before a fight," White said. "That would be cool."