Everybody loses. I have said that at often, and I truly believe in that theme. I never get too up and too down when a fighter wins and loses. It’s the natural cycle of life for a top-level mixed martial artist.
Then there’s Jon Jones. Let me be clear this is not a column about picograms or about running pregnant women down or the general stupidity that is synonymous with Jones’ name.
Jones is the closest thing we have in all of sports to a sure bet. Jones always shows up, and he always wins. He wins when he doesn’t train (admittedly). He wins when his foot looks like it was sawed in half, as it was in his win over Chael Sonnen. Jones has dominated the next best fighter of his generation to him: Daniel Cormier. Twice. Let’s think of the greatest winners in other sports, let’s say, Tom Brady, the six-time Super Bowl champion quarterback of the New England Patriots. He’s as dominant in his sport as Jon Jones is in his. Or is he? At this point, anybody who does not believe Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time either believes the earth is flat or is just purely a hater. That being said Brady went 10 years in between championships and is 6-3 in the Super Bowl. Let’s compare that to Jones who has never lost a title defense in his career, and essentially, lest a few illegal elbows and a DQ finish has never been defeated. I get it, football is a team sport. I have to ask the question, who’s the more money athlete, Brady or Jones? It’s undoubtedly Jones. Brady has thrown big interceptions at the most critical times. In short, he’s come up small on the big stage AT TIMES. Jones never has. Also, this is coming from a Patriots fan, full disclosure.
Jones’ best comparable is Michael Jordan. Unlike Brady, Jordan was both the greatest talent of his generation and he was the best winner. Nobody would argue Brady is the best talent, but you can not argue he’s not the best winner. Jordan went 6-0 in appearances in the championship round, and always came up big for his team with his legendary competitiveness. He was also virtuous and transcendent and changed his sport. Sound familiar? That sound a lot like Jon Jones.
Am I saying Jones is the Michael Jordan of MMA? Am I saying the notorious bad boy is the greatest winner and most transcendent athlete in the sport? Yes. Jones’s is the most money fighter of all time. Jones is impossible to bet against, he has simply dominated all of his competition for too long. He takes long breaks (suspensions) He comes back and doesn’t miss a beat. In fact, he gets better. Hell, he just took two years off essentially and came back and dominated his toughest competitor to date in Alexander Gustafsson in a completely one-sided beat down. Jones never shows us one bit of hope that he is slipping. He also never gives his opponent any sliver of hope that they can beat him. That is the definition of dominance.
Do not bet against Jones on Saturday night. Do not buy the underdog narrative of challenger Anthony Smith. You have to respect Smith, he has worked hard, he’s humble and confident. We have seen this before, it does not matter. Jon Jones mows them down from older competitors to young bucks coming up. Jones is Jordan with slick moves and exciting flare. He is Brady, with the killer instinct to drive the stake in your heart in front of the world. He is the greatest combat sports athlete we have ever seen. Love him or hate him, are you gonna bet your mortgage that he’s going to lose? Thought so.