Legacy on the Line in Vegas

MMA: UFC 235-Jones vs SmithUFC 235 was all about legacy as the legacy of three fighters was on the line with those three fighters looking to establish themselves as some of the best to ever do it.

All took different paths and were on different levels but with losses at UFC 235, their legacies would take a legitimate hit.

The first fighter up had a different path and a different type of legacy to fight for as Ben Askren was fighting his first fight in the UFC.

Askren was in danger of being the greatest fighter to never fight in the FUC and that is a real measuring stick.

The UFC has always been the place where the best fighters in the world fought and to be the best fighter you have to fight the best.

After retiring it seemed like he would never have the chance but he came out of retirement and a trade brought him from ONE FC to the UFC where he finally had his chance to fight the best.

It wasn’t going to be easy as his first fight would be against former champion Robbie Lawler but if he wanted his legacy to include a successful stint in the UFC a fighter like Lawler is what he needed.

It wasn’t going well for Askren when things started as Lawler came out strong and had Aksren bloody early in the first round.

Somehow Aksren was able to recover and continue fighting and was able to take control on the ground.

That is when he locked in a Bulldog choke that ended the fight although the call was a controversial one with Lawler never going out or tapping.

It goes down as a win for Askren in his debut but he got a clear awakening about what the UFC brings and getting out with a win in his debut could mean big things for his future in the promotion.

The other legacies on the card were all about being the best UFC fighters in the history of UFC fighters.

After winning the belt in 2016 he has defended his belt three times but his time off has left a long line of very talented fighters waiting to take him out.

He began taking them out last year when he beat Darren Till in the second round and his next one would be a similar challenger in Kamaru Usman.

With a lot of work to do to catch up to the nine welterweight title defences held by Georges St. Pierre, Woodley looked to get one step closer to being the best welterweight ever at UFC 235.

That attempt to become another great in the welterweight division was stopped by a dominant performance.

Usman was more than just a great challenger he was the answer to the problem of Woodley, bringing a wrestling game that Woodley couldn’t match.

It was a lesson in how to wrestle for MMA as Usman dominated on the mat and took a clear unanimous decision win to become the new welterweight champion.

Finally, the night came down to the complicated legacy that is wrapped up in Jon Jones.

Jones is widely considered to not only be the best light heavyweight in the UFC but the greatest fighter of all time.

There is little doubt that his skill set makes a very good case for being the best pound-for-pound fighter possibly ever.mma-sidebar.fw

The problem with Jones is that he has failed multiple drug tests and has had countless issues outside of the octagon.

His proven use of PEDs makes some re-think his legacy as the best ever but there may be only one way to shake that tarnish.

That one way is to come back and continue to win without letting the outside stuff become a distraction once again.

Another failed test, at least a failed test without picograms of a banned substance, is sure to be the end of his time as the best.

If he continues to win and doesn’t fail another test that legacy still remains foggy but it would be clear that PEDs or not he was great.

That legacy was going to be tested at UFC 235 when he would take on the best challenger he has seen in a while in Anthony Smith.

Jones displayed what makes him great as his creativity and ability to fight anywhere were on display in a big way.

Smith didn’t have an answer for just about everything as Jones earned the easy unanimous decision win.

It was another showcase of what makes Jones so great and so different and for the champion, there isn’t a lot left.

Expect Jones to fight at heavyweight next and look for a second title while new contenders begin to rise through the light heavyweight division.

A night full of fights that meant a lot in terms of legacy determined a lot with a debut leading to plenty of potential and an all-time great solidifying his spot while another great hit an obstacle.

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