The discussion over best pound for pound MMA fighter in 2016 has surrounded two names: Jon Jones and Demetrious Johnson. The two longest reigning current champs (pushing aside Jones getting stripped of the belt), both men have proven superior to every competitor put in front of them over several years, and because of that they’ve emerged as the only two names deserving of that top spot.
For Jones, who hopes to once again emerge victorious over Daniel Cormier at UFC 200 this Saturday night, he’s fine with those who think “Mighty Mouse” belongs on top, and he’s happy to continue being placed in the conversation.
“I’m OK if people say it’s ‘Mighty Mouse,'” Jones said in an interview with MMAjunkie.com. “I do look at ‘Mighty Mouse’ as a tremendous talent, but I know that I’m a tremendous talent, too. I know that I’ve done some amazing things. Our stats are completely different, but we both have great stats. But I don’t mind sharing that space with Demetrious Johnson.
“At the end of the day, people say, ‘Is Muhammad Ali the greatest? Is Floyd Mayweather the greatest? Is Mike Tyson the greatest? Is ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard, ‘Sugar’ Ray Robinson?’ Whatever – it’s always gonna be up for debate. Just a few years ago, everyone was saying Anderson Silva was the greatest of all times. And now, he’s not really. … I don’t lose sleep over the argument. At the end of the day, just being in the argument is tremendous, and I’m grateful to just be mentioned alongside the greats.”
Penick’s Analysis: Where Jones will always have an edge for me in that subjective conversation is in his level of competition. Johnson’s been absolutely dominant, without question, but the flyweight field has been relatively weak and he’s faced a number of fairly undeserving contenders. That’s no fault of his, as he can only beat the men put in the cage against him, but Jones has beaten pretty much everyone in a stronger division, and unlike Johnson hasn’t legitimately been defeated in his career either. Should either of them suffer a loss the conversation changes, but for as long as Jones remains on top at 205 lbs, he’s going to hold that top spot.
[Photo (c) Mark J. Rebilas via USA Today Sports]
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