UFC light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones has already accomplished more in combat sports at the age of 25 than most will in two lifetimes.
He’s the youngest fighter to ever win a UFC championship and the youngest fighter to defend a UFC title. He’s defended his title four times, which ties him with former light heavyweight titleholders Frank Shamrock and Chuck Liddell.
He is tied with Lyoto Machida with most consecutive wins in the UFC’s light heavyweight division. In his 12 fights in the UFC, he has earned Fight of the Night twice, Submission of the Night twice and Knockout of the Night once. Nearly every other time he steps into the Octagon, he’s takes home a performance based bonus.
And he’s not just beating people, he’s destroying the competition. He has beaten five former UFC titleholders… in a row.
His accolades are gaining him recognition and comparisons to some of combat sports’ biggest legends.
Jones faces Chael Sonnen on April 27 at UFC 159 in Newark, N.J. A win will tie him with Tito Ortiz for the most title defenses in the UFC’s light heavyweight division, and surpass Machida for most consecutive wins.
The New York native dreams of fighting in Madison Square Garden one day, a venue that’s hosted events headlined by the biggest names in combat sports history. Mixed martial arts isn’t legal in the state of New York, yet, but UFC 159’s open workouts will take place at the Garden.
“Muhammad Ali got to fight there. Mike Tyson got to fight there. And I think it’s like – I just think it’s a surreal place to be. I’m actually honored that I get to do the open workouts at the Garden because it’s just a dream of mine, so to fight there it would mean a lot to me and I can’t wait for the possibility,” said Jones on a recent UFC 159 media conference call.
Jones will go down in history as one of the greatest fighters of all time regardless of where his career path takes him from here, but his UFC 159 opponent believes that Jones has already passed the likes of Ali and Tyson as the greatest fighter in the world.
“As great as Jon is, I don’t think that he understands how good he is,” said Sonnen. “For him to pay tribute to Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali earlier was a very nice thing for him to do. The reality is Jon Jones could beat up Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali in the same day.”
Jones stated that he wants to defeat Sonnen and get another title defense under his belt to surpass Ortiz’ title defense record. Then he’ll entertain the possibility of superfights or a move up to the heavyweight division. Sonnen feels that Ortiz’ record is just a number and Jones is already the greatest 205-pound fighter the world has ever seen.
“When he says he wants to be the best ever, Jon, news flash buddy, you are the best. And as far as tying Tito Ortiz, yes, maybe had a couple more wins, but he hasn’t had the competition that you’ve faced. That’s not a secret,” said the challenger.
“I’m not going to degrade Jon or what he’s done. He’s the world champion. He’s the best in the weight class and he’s the best the weight class has ever seen.”
(Follow Jeff Cain @JeffMMAWeekly on Twitter.)