Jon Jones reminds the world just who the f--k he is
Is he the best to ever do it? Let's Discuss!
Illustration by Chris Rini
No one knew what to make of Jon Jones heading into his first fight in more than three years. Much virtual ink was spilled on the trappings of his comeback, a bout with Ciryl Gane for the heavyweight championship of the world. Did he look heavyweight big or just heavyweight fat? Would he be able to compete at an elite level removed from his comfort zone at Jackson-Winkeljohn, his home throughout his MMA career? Had the sport, ever-evolving, passed him by?
Those questions, in retrospect, look absolutely silly. The debates on the internet raged for days, months, years. But it took less than three minutes in the cage for Jon Jones to remind the MMA world just who the f—k he is.
Jones, the long-time light heavyweight champion, dragged the Frenchman to the mat, a lion atop a gazelle, and never allowed him a chance to recover. Gane is a good fighter, skilled, fast and sharp. Jon Jones is something different entirely, a generational talent whose only real opponent over a Hall-of-Fame career has been himself.
I’ve traveled to Albuquerque, New Mexico half a dozen times for stories about Jones over my MMA writing life, watching him grow into a fistic legend even as his life outside the cage spiraled out of control. There’s never been any doubt that Jones is an elite fighter. He’s proven that once again, becoming the third competitor in history to own a claim to both the UFC light heavyweight and heavyweight titles. The questions have been answered over and over again. Just one remains—is he the best to ever do it?