Jon Jones is the best fighter over 200 pounds I’ve ever seen in my life.
If he gets through the murderer’s row of light heavyweights ahead of him, it’s quite likely I may say he’s the best fighter I’ve ever seen. For now, that honor belongs to Anderson Silva.
At age 26, Jones is the youngest current UFC champion, and the youngest fighter in the UFC light heavyweight division with a win—yet he is the undisputed king of said division. His seven title defenses are the most in the division’s history, and third in total, behind only fellow all-time greats Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva.
Jon Jones debuted in the UFC after only four months in professional MMA. Six years later, he’s being called one of the greatest fighters of all time. Jon Jones paints a picture of domination with each victory, with his earlier wins being bright in color, and creativity, and his newest being dark in strategic excellence and domination.
In under a year in MMA, Jones suplexed future UFC Hall of Famer around the cage with ease, impressing fans and fighters alike. Just over two years later, he would unseat Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in a fashion in which the world hadn’t seen. Before that, he was just known as the brother to college and NFL superstars, Chandler and Arthur Jones.
Let’s not kid ourselves, Jones should be undefeated—21-0, and 14-0 in the UFC. His once sided mollywhopping of Matt Hamill (who was in his prime) resulted in a DQ loss, and hasn’t looked back since.
From champions Shogun, to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, to Vitor Belfort, to Rashad Evans to Lyoto Machida, Jones has dominated them all. It even reached the point in which middleweight title contender Chael Sonnen had to be brought up and fed to Jones as a sacrificial lamb.
Jones isn’t without error, though. His poor preparation and weak camp performance was exposed in his razor thin victory over Alexander Gustafsson, and afterwards Jones vowed to never take his own talents, or his opponents for granted. Even in his fight Saturday against Teixeira, he was seemingly begging to eat uppercuts in the clinch. He came out flat footed against Teixeira, much like his fight with Gustafsson, which worried many. Those concerns were quickly calmed.
Many also critiqued the range-rich Jones for his reluctance to throw knees in the clinch against Teixeira as well. When asked about his strategy, Jones said he didn’t want to take pressure off of his opponent, by leaving pressure on Glover’s arms—an answer indicative of the man’s combat genius.
It seems almost inevitable that Jones will steal that “greatest of all-time” crown from Silva, who unseated Fedor. Jon Jones has all of the tools, physical gifts, and the ability to adapt to his opponents. It seems as if there isn’t a situation in which he can’t execute offensively and defensively. The clinch, standing, against the cage, on the ground—Jones is perhaps the most spectacular offensive combatant the UFC has ever seen.
Slaying wrestlers, boxers, muay thai masters, karate practitioners, BJJ black belts, and UFC Hall of Famers– the light heavyweight king has done it all, and more impressively than any champion in his weight class has ever done.
It was often said that Jones lacked a true rival, someone who could bring out the best in him. He found that rival in Alexander Gustafsson, whom brought about one of the UFC’s all-time great fights. For five rounds, the two went back and forth in a classic. It was the first true test of the champion’s heart and will, a test in which he passed.
Yet Jones still has his doubters.
Many point to his issues outside of the UFC cage—his DUI arrest, his alleged homophobic comments, even accusations of his “fake” persona. Anything in which folks can grasp as a reason to dislike Jones, they herald as a weakness, a character flaw.
Quite frankly, none of that matters when Jon Jones walks into a cage—the perceived character flaws don’t affect his performance or UFC legacy. At UFC 172, it sure didn’t matter, when Jones destroyed Glover Teixeira’s right shoulder immediately, and eliminated his opponent’s powerful right cross, further cementing an already concrete legacy as a dominant competitor, but a cerebral assassin.
Pretty soon, the doubters will be left without ammunition. I guess there’s always those pesky character flaws.
Jon “Bones” Jones is the next “best of all time”, and is the undisputed king. At only 26, he’s the savior of a division that was in disarray only three years ago There is no longer a question as to whether or not Jones is the best in the world, the question– “is he the greatest fighter ever?”