Home UFC The Hypothetical Corner: Could Jones really defeat Tyson and Ali?

The Hypothetical Corner: Could Jones really defeat Tyson and Ali?


In today’s conference call for UFC 159, Chael Sonnen was rather cordial and quite respectful of his opponent Jon Jones, which is an unexpected change, as it was obvious he had been putting the one man promo machine known as Chael P. Sonnen into fifth gear after the conclusion of TUF 18.

In fact Chael went as far as claiming that Jon Jones is by far the best fighter in the world and from his explanation, the best fighter in combat sports that has ever lived thus far. Chael specifically stated that he believes Jones could not only defeat Anderson Silva with ease, but could also overcome boxing legends Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson on the same night.

Regardless of the literality or seriousness of Chael’s claim or whether he’s just making the task ahead of him seem much larger and monumental than it is, this really got me thinking. I’d like to throw reality aside for the time being and have a little fun with this.

Now before I begin my analysis, let me present you with a disclaimer by stating that this is all completely hypothetical and completely subjective from my end, I’m simply going off of what I’ve seen and the accomplishments of all the individuals involved. I would however genuinely like to know what everyone else has to say regarding this subject, so be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below. Now let’s get to the day Dreaming.

We’ve now entered into the world of science fiction. It’s the year 2149, John Connor and his human resistance has officially won the war against Skynet’s machines and have been celebrating victory for years. But with no enemies left to fight or struggles left to overcome, they’ve grown extremely bored. And so after a night of too many alcoholic drinks, they began to debate about the good old days of combat sports.

John Connor believes MMA legend Jon Jones to be the best combatant who ever lived, his Father Kyle Reese, (who is somehow younger than him) argues it was boxing legend Mike Tyson, while John’s wife and second in command Katherine Brewster claims Muhammad Ali was the very best.

So with little else to do with their time, they program a T101 to go back in time, kidnap each individual fighter in their prime, force them to fight to the death in a back alley and then return back to the future and report the results.

Now that I’ve given a valid explanation as to why these three individuals would be fighting each other, we can now speculate on what exactly would take place and who would hold what specific advantages.


It’s tough to say who the fastest individual would be in this category, but I’d rank Ali above the other two in terms of hand speed and reflexes, while I’d give Tyson next spot and unfortunately Jones last. Although it’s only by default and the fact that Jones style isn’t based on speed but rather being much more methodical than the others.


I don’t even think I have to tell you who the advantage goes to. The way I’ve seen him make a 400lb bag move, it’s very possible that Tyson could have more power than Ali and Jones combined. I give Ali the next spot and Jones last once again.

Strategy/Fight IQ

I’m gonna give this one to Jones based on how adaptive and cerbreal he is against his opponents, he slowly chops them down one swing at a time like a tree, eventually making them tumble and fall. Ali get’s the next spot, he’s been known to bait opponents with his hands down, taunt them into frustration and use his famous rope-a-dope strategy to tire out his heavier opponents and attack when they’ve got no gas left in the tank. There’s no secret as to what Tyson’s strategy was in his prime… Removing your head from your body with his fists.

Grappling/Ground Game

Now I know you’re already rolling your eyes and of course Jones gets the massive football field sized advantage in this department, but I’m less concerned with a boxers grappling skills and more concerned with their ability to throw effective strikes from the bottom. There’s no doubt they’d both get taken down and man handled, but I’m confident both boxers could still generate enough force to strike significantly from the bottom. In this category I’m leaning towards Tyson based on the fact that he can create insane amounts of power with little distance, not to mention he’s smaller stronger and stockier, giving him a lower center of gravity, meaning he’d probably have more success defending the takedown if at all or getting back up to his feet. Ali would likely look confused and embarrased on the ground.


This is gonna be controversial but I’m gonna say Jon Jones based on the fact that he’s been through some adversity, more specifically in the fight with Vitor Belfort he was in a very bad situation but maintained his cool and escaped. He then continued to fight with a semi-injured arm and defeated his opponent with a convincing finish. Next spot I’d give to Ali, seeing as how he to as gone through a bit of adversity on a few occasions throughout his career, Tyson on the other hand is very much a front runner for most of his career and only does well when he isn’t being punched or backed up.

Striking Ability

I give this to Jones for the simple fact that he has eight points of contact to use and make his opponents think about, where as the boxers will only be using two, although those are two VERY skilled, fast and powerful points of contact. I may give Jones the advantage overall but in straight striking talent, I give Ali a very close 2nd, and Tyson an extremely close 3rd. The key thing to think about here is Ali’s ability to pick Jones apart from the outside and get out quickly, and Tyson’s ability to get on the inside and generate ferocious one punch hospital sending power. However both distances are dangerous against Jones as he’ll either kick you from range or throw you like a rag doll from the clinch.


Like St. Pierre and many other champions before him, Jones isn’t the best at any one discipline or skill in specific, but his ability to be dynamic, intelligent and methodical is what I believe would help him prevail over the other two. If you noticed I didn’t count weight as an advantage simply because all three fighters were known to hover around the 215-230 area meaning no one in particular would have any advantages in size, well weight wise anyway, Jones holds the advantage in reach with 84.5 inches, with Ali coming in at a respectable 80 inches and Tyson a short 71 inches.

In all honesty, both boxers could very well defeat Jones via devastating KO and I definitely give them more than a punchers chance, but Jones is smarter than that and would keep his distance or tie them up, and if they don’t land one of those bungalows than there is little reason to believe they could achieve victory, because quite frankly, Jon Jones would have a feel day in the clinch, on the ground and everywhere in between.

Hope you enjoyed that. As I said let me know what you think. Who would win in your opinion or at least fare the best?

  • Great article definitely something new and fun i haven't seen before but on another note i actually think Tyson would snap Jones in half with one hook lol but on a reality note i give mma fighters the upper hand every time when it comes to mma versus boxing its just to much of a mismatch one specialty versus many(mma)

    • Well said I agree completely. If this is a street fight I might have to lean towards Tyson but overall I'd say Jones, especially if there's rules involved.

      One important factor I left out was Tyson's biting power, the psi on his jaw would even out the playing field lol

      • This is just ridiculous to compare Jones at this stage to any of the 2.
        Chael is giving himself some reconfort cause he knows he's losing. It will help his ego to loose to someone who he thinks can beat muhammed and Tyson at the same night

        • So you're saying that you think Mike Tyson or Muhammad Ali would defeat Jon Jones in an alley way with no rules?

          Just curious.

          • In a alley with no rules tyson is way more street smart so he would probly swing and hit 1st lights out Jon. Or pick something up lol no rules? !

          • Im just saying that you can't compare jones to muhammed. He is nowhere near what muhammed has accomplished!
            Its ridiculous to compare the 2 anyway, No Body has seen Tyson or Muhammed in a mma fight!!!! maybe they may had been able to train for 2 3 years and develop Dos Santos king of take down defense and destroy any one in the UFC.

    • Lets do boxing rules with mma gloves see who would win;)

    • Really "intelligent".

  • What?

    • Smartest comment so far.

      • Evan I would have expected a comment like that from another user but not from a contributor such as yourself.

        I was just trying to suspend reality and have some fun. But thanks for the support.

        • And?

          Did you not check below? This was sarcastic.

  • In boxing Mike Tyson and ALI would destroy Bones

    In MMA, bones would destroy ALI and Tyson, just like Randy destroyed Toney

    • That's true but what is being missed here is that he said best "fighter" not best boxer… and like you said n MMA (pretty much a real fight, compared to boxing anyway), Jones wins all day

  • Even in mma I give Tyson a 1/5 chance in causing Jones to dirty his drawers with one punch… but if Jones grabs him Tyson will look like a 10 year old girl fighting the hulk

    • In MMA it would be almost impossible for Tyson to win. Jones just needs to sit down as soon as the fight starts, scoot forward and get close to Tyson and then pull guard, following up in the next few seconds with a submission or sweep and take him out from the top.

      • But take the fight out of the octagon and put it on the street with no rules… Who wins?

        It changes things a bit.

        • A bit.

          But as soon as it hit the ground, it would be over. Fights on the street hit the ground almost 100 percent of the time, and if a guy who is a JUCO national champ is there its hitting the ground.

      • In a street fight I would go with tyson via brick throw like greg did D-BO!

  • In pure boxing, Jones would lose, definitively. His reach and height would be nullified by the fact he can't kick and his lack of KO power would really put him in the I'm-lanky-only category.

  • In a fight, Jones would beat either of them 99/100 times, no question about it.
    All it takes is a takedown which would be easy even against the powerful Tyson and within 30 seconds Jones would either have broke a limb or choked his opponent unconscious.

    Even in a kickboxing match Jones would have great chances against them, how do you think they would react to a high switch kick? It is most likely going to land each time and Jones has enough speed in his strikes to make a head kick a finish.

    If we are talking about the sport of boxing, which is really a fight with a bunch pointless rules in place, then of course Tyson would wreck him and Ali would pick apart until he crumbles.
    We're not talking about who is the better boxer though, we're talking about the better FIGHTER, and that means the better combat sports athlete regardless or boxing's silly limitations.

    • definitely some interesting points. Although if it were a kickboxing match, I'd still favour Tyson. MMA fighters prove all the time that you can still just use your hands and be very effective, it just won't work on every opponent.

      • @Bryan yea I agree, Tyson especially would probably kill him in any striking competition but adding kicks would definitely help a lot.

    • It wouldn't be like James t. Tyson and ali would train tdd and kicks etc…

  • I think you are giving to much credit to the boxers ability to punch from the bottom, they wouldn't even know what "guard" is and Jones would be in mount as soon as it hits the ground. From there Tyson wouldn't even be able to reach Jon and Jon could pound away without getting touched or just take an arm and break it in any way he likes.

  • I disagree with saying they "could very well" devastatingly KO Jones.

    The proof is in the pudding – Badr Hari, one of the best strikers, not just boxers, fought against an MMA guy and he actually trained to be defending against a grappler yet he still got submitted in less than 30 seconds.
    Why would Tyson or Ali be any different? Especially if they weren't even attempting to prepare to defend against grappling

    • I don't disagree with you but you're also putting Badr Hari in the same category as Tyson and Ali.

      Tyson and Ali's hands are 10 times better than anyone's hands in K-1 or Muay Thai. Even in Kickboxing I think they'd KO half the guys in K-1. The grappling stuff I agree with but striking?

      Look how many successful kickboxers there are who don't kick or knee very much at all… Mark Hunt, even Overeem didn't kick much in K-1.

      Just something to think about.

  • This is dumb. You cant compare mma with boxing. I didnt read the article.

    • Why would you even comment then???… Idiot.

      • Find something else to write about buddy. Way to be a professional. Low Kick give this sensitive writer a raise. He did an outstanding job. He represents this site very well. The article is amazing.

        Bryan Im not hating bro. take it easy.

        • He can write about this if he chooses. This article hasn't mugged anyone, taxed anyone, stabbed anyone, robbed a bank, or done anything to anyone to cause offense. As you can read from the comments many people find this an enjoyable topic albeit irrelevant to boxing and MMA in essence, with occassional, informative comments making it relevant all the same.

          There's a zillion and one things to be seriously upset about in this life but this article ain't one of them.

          I think a more interesting hypothetical pondeance is if Ali and Tyson had trained MMA instead of boxing would they still have dominated in today's world of MMA and how good would Jones have potentially been if he trained boxing instead of MMA and how he'd have done back then.

  • Some people, just got nuthin better to do than hate.

    • Mike, I am not hating believe me. I dont sit here and wait for the next article to bash but comparing boxing greats to mma people is two different things.

  • This conversation was solved 100 years ago when black heavyweights like Sam McVea and Sam Langford fought smaller grapplers over seas and lost a majority of the time in "mixed rules fights".

    If the conversation is about greatness, Ali still holds more pull than Jones and probably will no matter what Jon does. Jones might already be better than Mike from a sport vs sport standpoint.

    If the conversation is who would win in a street fight between Jones or the two, its Jones 99.9% of the time. In fact, if the conversation is about Ali or Tyson vs. 90% of the HW or LHW division in the UFC its those divisions 99% of the time.

    • Fun read though, especially seeing you try to give these boxers advantages in random areas.

  • I don't agree with that heart/durability goes to Jon Jones!!!!!
    I will further say that's landslide for Ali…
    In no way, shape o form has Jones in his 30 seconds(if it was even that)
    that he has been in trouble in his MMA career even come close to compare the heart and durability that Ali has shown in his classic with Ken Norton(he got his jaw broken .in the second round and fought until the end, can't remember if it was 12 or 15 rnds), Foreman, and of course his wars with Joe Frazier. The third fight, "The Thrilla In Manilla" is a classic and was really brutal fight, which people wanted to use as "proof" of "why"to ban fight sports.
    Jones is great, and as i ithink he is awesome but to claim that Jones has more heart than Ali because that he got out of ONE difficult situation is prepostrous…
    I'm not saying that Jones doesn't have heart, but to be compared to heart of Ali who has been in real wars of attrition, then jones has to prove a little bit more and that might be a problem to do. Because he is so dominant…
    He might have a bigger heart than Ali, but i doubt it. Time will tell.

  • There isn't even a hypothetical debate to be had here….

    randy couture vs james toney

    there is nothing else to say.