Jon Jones has faced four UFC champions in his last for bouts and run through them all with apparent ease. Next up, the UFC has matched him the Strikeforce, Pride and UFC legend Dan Henderson in a fight which should headline either UFC 149 or UFC 150.
Some betting lines have already opened for the light heavyweight title fight, with bookmakers judging Jon Jones the heavy favourite, to the tune of around 1-7. There were raised eyebrows when Jones was considered by most bookies to be similarly over matched in his last fight with Rashad Evans, but these odds seem to have caused more of a stir. I suggest that Rashad Evans posed a more significant threat to Jones than Henderson does and that 6-1 is about right.
The reaction to these odd is probably a result of Hendo’s pride of place in the hearts of MMA fans. Having fought at heavyweight, light heavyweight and middleweight and defeated some of the best fighters in each of those weight classes in a 15 year career, Henderson has attained near mythical status. Over the years Henderson has adapted his game to the changes in his body and now relies on a granite chin, superb defensive wrestling and one of the heaviest right hands in MMA.
The reality though, is that Henderson lacks the staying power to last more than two or three rounds with Jones. He suffers a significant reach disadvantage and will likely be significantly lighter than Jones. The champion has significant advantages in speed and the diversity of his attack and most crucially is an expert at making the most of his reach advantage.
A fighter who punches as hard as Henderson cannot be ruled out, but Jones is the deserving, overwhelming favourite for this fight.