One of the most contentious debates that has been had regarding MMA over the past couple of years revolves around the best fighter in the history of the sport.
Of course, the debates surrounding the GOAT are nothing new in the sport and even mess with betting lines’ odds.
Many are still debating whether Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo is the world’s best in soccer, or whether LeBron James is the best ever in the NBA. The games where these stars perform in sportsbooks always give favoritism to their teams.
But, one name is constantly mentioned more than most when it comes to the best of all-time in MMA, Jon Jones, who is part of Jackson Wink’s roster.
So, is the former Light Heavyweight champion the very best fighter than we have ever seen in the world of MMA?
Jones’ MMA Record
It is hard to poke too many holes in Jon Jones’ record on the whole, as he has won 26 of the 28 fights that he has been involved in. His only defeat came by disqualification back in December 2009, as he was adjudged to have landed illegal elbows against Matt Hamill. However, when it comes to top-quality fights and staying at the top level, there are few that come close to Jones.
He first won the UFC Light Heavyweight championship in March 2011, as he beat Mauricio Rua by TKO at UFC 128. Following that win, he successfully defended the title on eight occasions, before he was stripped of the title after violating the UFC’s code of conduct after victory against Daniel Cormier. During that title run, he held the title for a staggering four years, and that included huge victories against respected fighters such as Vitor Belfort, Alexander Gustafsson and Glover Teixeira.
Controversies Surrounding Jones
There are still those that state that Jones can’t be considered the very best of all-time, as his career has also been surrounded in controversy. Both inside and outside the octagon, trouble has followed Jones. The vast majority of those came between 2015 and 2017, as he had the title taken off him on three occasions. Furthermore he was removed from the UFC rankings in 2015 after being arrested on charges of hit-and-run.
Inside the octagon, he has also needed to contend with some very controversial moments. The first of those came in 2016 after he saw his victory against Ovince Saint Preux clouded in controversy after he failed a drugs test. The win remains on his record, but he was stripped of the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship
in the aftermath. In 2017 after his victory against Daniel Cormier, as his win over Cormier was reversed to a No Contest by the SCAC after Jones was found to have taken a banned substance.
Return From Ban
However, Jones never stopped when it came to his goal of reclaiming the UFC Light Heavyweight title and returned to the octagon in December 2018. It was a dominant return for Jones, as he would beat Alexander Gustafsson by KO in the third round to capture the title. He then successfully defended the title on three further occasions. All of the recent defenses were won by decision, with the latest coming against Dominick Reyes at UFC 247 in February 2020.
It’s still unclear when we could see Jones back in the octagon, as he hasn’t competed since that victory against Reyes over two years ago. The main reason for that is down to a conflict with Dana White over pay.
Jones revealed in May of last year that he was vacating the Light Heavyweight Championship, as he has his sights set on a run in the heavyweight division and a showdown with Francis Ngannou. Jones revealed that he wanted the kind of money that was given to Deontay Wilder for his heavyweight title bout against Tyson Fury.
A purse of $30 million for the heavyweight fight doesn’t seem like something that the UFC boss will agree to, but he revealed once again last year that he still has his sights set on competing for the UFC Heavyweight title in his next bout. But, whether that will be feasible for both parties remains to be seen, but fans will be hoping that it isn’t much longer before we see him back in the octagon doing what he does best.
Records Held By Jones
Few fighters in UFC history can claim to hold as many records as Jones, as he has been a true trailblazer throughout his career. He became the youngest fighter to win a UFC championship with his victory over Rua back in 2011, and he also holds the record for most successful title defenses with eleven overall. Eight of those title defenses came during his first run as the Light Heavyweight champion.
Jones also still holds the record for the longest Light Heavyweight reign in history, as he held the title for a staggering 1501 days. Jones was also inducted into the fight wing of the Hall of Fame for his contest against Gustafsson at UFC 165.