Whether You Like It Or Not, Jon Jones Is The GOAT
— Updated on 19 February 2024

Whether You Like It Or Not, Jon Jones Is The GOAT

— Updated on 19 February 2024
Garry Lu
Garry Lu

Prior to UFC 285, Jon Jones already ranked among the promotion’s most accomplished fighters. By the pay-per-view event’s conclusion, Jon Jones had become the GOAT.

Over three years since his semi-debatable unanimous decision victory against Dominick Reyes, this past weekend, the oft-controversial mixed martial artist hailing from Albuquerque, New Mexico returned to the cage around 45 pounds heavier with a fresh appetite for another division’s belt.

Considering how early the UFC’s youngest-ever champion began his tenure under the watchful eye of organisation president Dana White (and millions of combat sports fans around the globe), from a biological standpoint, Bones still had/has a lot to offer the game. But like the amnesia-prone spectators we are, the time he’d spent away from elite-level competition somehow diminished the sheer breadth of his accomplishments.

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How the hell could anyone possibly forget?

This was a man who’d seized the UFC light heavyweight throne from the legendary Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at the age of 23 (and after just three bouts in the big leagues, no less).

This was a man who’d absolutely manhandled boogeymen-level threats such as Quinton Jackson, Lyoto Machida, and Rashad Evans within the 13-month period following his ascension; before making his way through Vitor Belfort, Chael Sonnen, as well as Alexander Gustafsson and Olympian turned two-division champion Daniel Cormier twice apiece.

More importantly, this was a man who had successfully defended his title a grand total of 11 times without ever having officially tasted defeat.

And yet, there were unanswered questions.

Whether You Like It Or Not, Jon Jones Is The GOAT - UFC 285, weigh-ins

Questions about mindset, health, form. About his “killer instinct” (or potential lack thereof), as well as whether he was once again on the verge of imploding thanks to a potent combination of personal scandal, substance abuse, and plain old criminality.

The moment Jon Jones set foot inside the Octagon, despite the roars of the crowd – both inside the confines of Las Vegas’ sold-out T-Mobile Arena and beyond – it was as if the world had suddenly fallen silent; at that moment, speculation, gossip, and theoretical analysis had finally reached the edge of reality.

While there will occasionally be debate for all the wrong reasons, the Octagon is still one of the last places on Earth where you can discover a definitive truth. If not by the recorded result and judges’ scorecards, then by public jury and stone-cold statistics.

So what “truths” did we come to discover this time around?

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Whether You Like It Or Not, Jon Jones Is The GOAT - UFC 285
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 04: (R-L) Jon Jones punches Ciryl Gane of France in the UFC heavyweight championship fight during the UFC 285 event at T-Mobile Arena on March 04, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

For one, in the face of this so-called “new breed” of heavyweights to which kickboxing technician Ciryl Gane belongs, the years he spent on the sidelines have meant very little. With remarkable fight IQ and an even more remarkable ability to adapt, Jones is still the apex predator.

For another, had Gane’s early kick missed Jones’ groin, those three short minutes would’ve been a whole lot shorter.

It was poetry in perfectly-timed motion…

Slip the cross.

Penetrating step with the rear foot.

Bodylock, trip, drag.

Take away his base.

Scramble to the back.

Remove the base again.

Mount against the cage, sink the guillotine, wait for the tap.

Raise your hand. Smile for the cameras. Take the gold home without barely breaking a sweat.

A title fight should never look that easy and yet it did. That is who Jon Jones is.

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In a perfect world, mixed martial arts’ GOAT would be the complete 100-point package: a flawless poster boy free from sin with an upstanding public persona to match his massive talent. Like Australia’s own Alexander Volkanovski; hopefully with time, Volk can match Jones in accolades thereby making it a perfect world.

Unfortunately, we do not live in such a world (yet). Because humans are inherently, well… human. Evolution and redemption is coded in our DNA. And while I make zero excuses for his past indiscretions, nor whatever details and asterisks that “tarnish” his legacy be it USADA politics or legal troubles, the fact of the matter is there will never be another Jon Jones.

Future generations may eventually reveal an individual who – with superhuman amounts of effort and gifts directly bestowed upon them by ancient gods of violence – manages to surpass him. For the time being, however, Jon Jones has rightfully cemented his place in history as the GOAT. Regardless of what the rest of us think, feel, and argue.

Side Note: The only unanswered question left unanswered? How would Jones have fared against the outgoing heavyweight king Francis Ngannou? Sadly, we may never know.

Side Note II: All this and with the Drake Curse. Incredible.

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Garry Lu
After stretching his legs with companies such as The Motley Fool and the odd marketing agency, Garry joined Boss Hunting in 2019 as a fully-fledged Content Specialist. In 2021, he was promoted to News Editor. Garry proudly retains a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, black bruises from Muay Thai, as well as a black belt in all things pop culture. Drop him a line at [email protected]


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