Jones’ scariest performance undoubtedly was his second title defense against former champ Lyoto Machida in Toronto
Jones had already successfully negotiated his first title defense with relative ease against Quinton Jackson, but many observers thought that Machida’s unique, tricky karate-based style would pose a host of problems for Jones, just as they had his predecessor, Rashad Evans.
But while other fighters struggled with Machida’s style, Jones simply plowed through it, as he recovered from being stunned in the first round to register a second-round technical submission victory via standing guillotine choke.
The finish would have been impressive enough, but the optics of it, with Jones letting go of Machida’s neck and walking away as the unconscious Brazilian collapsed in a heap on the mat, was one of the most unforgettable visuals of Jones’ career.
To do something like that to a man who, 17 months earlier, held the belt didn’t just add a second title defense to Jones’ record. It sent a message to the rest of the division: A new breed of fighter had arrived, and he had no intention of letting a former champ usurp his dominance.