HYDEN’S TAKE: The Astounding Self-Destructive Nature of Jon Jones

BY FRANK HYDEN, MMATorch Columnist

Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier at UFC 214 (photo by Gary A. Vasquez © USA Today Sports)

Jon Jones failed a drug test after his UFC 214 win over Daniel Cormier. His team claims it’s a false positive, or maybe even a set-up. The former is possible, the latter is extremely unlikely. It’s a little hard to imagine someone risking their career to destroy a guy who’s shown an amazing propensity for doing that to himself. And it is likely total destruction. If Jones is found to have taken this PED, he’s looking at a suspension of up to four years. It’s hard to imagine that he keeps fighting after that. He would be about thirty-four when he’s eligible to return. Is he really going to keep training all that time? It’s happened before. Georges St. Pierre is returning after a self-imposed three year sabbatical, but that’s the exception and not the rule. Physically I think he could do it, but mentally? I don’t know.

Plus, what other ways does Jones do damage to himself during the suspension? It’s easy to see him having another run-in with the law. This is assuming this is all true, though. It’s possible that the B sample comes back clean and exonerates Jones. For his sake, I hope so. He’s had a dark cloud following him for years. We’re looking at a guy who might be the greatest mixed-martial artist of all-time, and he can’t seem to stop hurting himself. There’s a common sports hyperbole that goes “He’s so good that the only person who can beat him is himself.” That’s so true with Jones.

The person I really feel for in all this is the man who’s been so intertwined with Jones for the past several years, Daniel Cormier. The emotional roller coaster he’s been on has to be so hard to deal with. They had to schedule their rematch a few times to get it done, all the while Cormier having to deal with knowing that Jones is the only man who’s ever beaten him in the cage. So Cormier pours himself fully into trying to best Jones, but comes up short. In fact, he gets finished, which is amazing considering how tough he is. Then he hears, a few weeks later, that Jones tested positive for a banned substance after the fight. Even now he’s in a limbo state where he’s waiting to see if the B sample comes back positive or not. So he lost a fight he put every ounce of himself into, and it could be legit or it could be total crap.

If Jones is exonerated, Cormier won’t get another title shot anytime soon. Even in the weakened light heavyweight division, it’s hard to imagine he gets a shot without having to win at least two fights. He would have lost twice to Jones decisively, the latest being a finish. You don’t just win once and get another title shot in that scenario. Hell, he might not get a shot even with two wins. He’s 38 right now. If he has to win at least twice to get another title shot, that’s a year down the road, minimum. Not everybody can be Randy Couture and fight off Father Time as well as he did.

What if Jones is found guilty, though? The title obviously becomes vacated at that point and Cormier is put into the title fight to crown a new champion. Where’s he going to be mentally, though? Cormier has shown tremendous mental toughness in the past, but this is the first time he’s been finished. Whether Jones was juicing or not, he got finished. I would expect Cormier to beat anyone else in the division and become the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion again, but that would be the second time now that he’s become champ after losing to Jones. That’s a real turd sandwich he’s being served here.


As expected, Floyd Mayweather defeated Conor McGregor last weekend. That’s no surprise, but McGregor did acquit himself pretty well. He did a lot better than most boxing experts were predicting. I think this spells the end of McGregor in the UFC. After making $100 million dollars for this one fight, why would he go back? The UFC isn’t going to pay him anywhere near that amount per fight. There’s a lot more money for him in boxing. He’s not going to be fighting Mayweather every time, but there’s good money to be had.

I think he fights Paulie Malignaggi next and keeps on boxing unless he loses that fight too. I think he wins that fight, however, and continues boxing for at least the next few years. McGregor has a real chance to become an even bigger superstar than he is now, and that doesn’t involve the UFC. I think the UFC should just agree to a buyout of some sort and move on. They probably won’t, at least not at first. But, at some point they’ll have to. They won’t have a choice.

Comments and suggestions can be emailed to me at hydenfrank@gmail.com and you can follow me on Twitter at @hydenfrank

NOW CHECK OUT HYDEN’S PREVIOUS TAKE: TJ Dillashaw vs. Cody Garbrandt, Anderson Silva vs. Kelvin Gastelum, and Francis Ngannou left without an opponent

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