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SportsMixed Martial Arts

The task ahead for Jon Jones

Jon Jones, second right, stands with others wearing

Jon Jones, second right, stands with others wearing a light heavyweight belt after defeating Mauricio Rua in their mixed martial arts match at UFC 128. (March 19, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

Jon Jones and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson began the hype for their Sept. 24 bout at UFC 135 on Tuesday with a press conference in Denver, the event's host city.

Jones said things, Jackson said some things. As press conferences go, it was simple and formulaic.

Jones, the light heavyweight champion, is the future of MMA and he carries that burden wherever he goes, be it the octagon for a fight, the gym for a training session or the mall for a shopping trip. Jackson is a former champion who has retired once, starred in a movie and gone about things in a different manner than Jones.

But Jackson is one heck of an opponent for Jones to make his first title defense against. Winning the belt in the 205-pound division is easy. Defending it, eh, not so much.  Take a look at recent history associated with the UFC light heavyweight championship:

May 2007: Rampage beat Chuck Liddell to win the title at UFC 71.

September 2007: Rampage defended his title against Dan Henderson at UFC 75.

July 2008: Rampage lost belt to Forrest Griffin at UFC 86.

December 2008: Griffin lost his first title defense to Rashad Evans at UFC 92.

May 2009: Evans lost first title defense to Lyoto Machida at UFC 98.

October 2009: Machida wins close decision over Shogun Rua at UFC 104.

May 2010: Machida loses belt to Rua at UFC 113.

March 2011: Rua loses belt in first title defense to Jones at UFC 128.

September 2011: ?

In four-plus years, there have been seven champions and only two successful title defenses.

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