UFC Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones has his supporters, and he has his detractors. He recently opened up the floodgates for criticism by saying that he was only at seventy percent for his fight against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165. Before that, he drew the ire of many fans by not accepting a UFC 151 bout with Chael Sonnen on short notice, resulting in the first-ever cancellation of a UFC event.
However, it’s hard to argue with what Jones has done in the cage. Jones’ 2011 was arguably the greatest year ever put together by a single mixed martial artist. He dispatched Ryan Bader before defeating former UFC Light Heavyweight champions Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, and Lyoto Machida in rapid succession.
It was a year not likely to be duplicated, and “Bones” continues to rule over a talented division. He’s scheduled to face off with Glover Teixeira at UFC 169 next February, but according to Dana White, Jones is already the best 205-pound fighter the UFC has ever seen:
“Jones has had the toughest run of guys in the UFC. I mean, to get to the belt and to defend the belt, Jones has had to go through hell. Yeah, and he’s the most accomplished. Nevermind Tito Ortiz, let’s talk about Chuck Liddell, somebody who could actually really fight. Even Chuck Liddell, the things he accomplished and the things that he did, what Jon Jones has accomplished is greater than any light heavyweight, ever.” – transcribed by MMA Mania
That’s high praise for the world’s No. 1-ranked pound-for-pound fighter, and deservedly so. “The Iceman” was a wrecking ball during his run as champion, but he ultimately fell off rapidly after Jackson tested his chin with a massive hook to end his reign. Jones had hardly been hit before Gustafsson truly put him to the test two weekends ago. It was close, but the champ survived, and stressed how much he learned throughout the classic bout. With talk of a superfight against Anderson Silva on the backburner for now, people will be clamoring for Jones to make his oft-talked about move up to Heavyweight should he beat Teixeira decisively.
What are your thoughts on White’s views? Is Jones already the best Light Heavyweight champion in UFC history, and will anyone ever be able to duplicate his history-making run?