Jon Jones: best of all time?
The upcoming Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen has the speculators talking about Jones’s eventual place in history again. Is he the best of all time? Could he be? Not yet.
In MMA, Anderson Silva is without a doubt the best of all time…at the moment. A record of 33-4 with no losses since Jan. 2006. He holds the longest win streak in the UFC and most title defenses in the UFC. He also has most Knockout of the Night bonuses. He DESTROYS opponents. At age 38, he is still one of the strongest and fastest fighters around, and the most dominant. Look at what he did to Bonnar by intentionally placing himself in a position that pundits said would be Bonnar’s best hope to win. Silva still picked him apart.
Jon Jones has similar assets. He is fast and unorthodox with possibly a better ground game. The big advantange? Age. He is only 25 now and he started his UFC career at age 20. Anderson started his UFC career at 31.
What we are seeing in Jon Jones is a fighter of the same caliber as Anderson Silva who possibly has 11 more years at the top of the sport than Anderson did. Jones’s biggest threat is complacency. It has been a danger for Silva as seen in his performances against Patrick Cote, Thales Leites, Damean Maia, and the first Sonnen fight. He won all of those, even though he should have lost the Sonnen fight. But look at the second Sonnen fight. When Silva is motivated, he is overwhelmingly dominant.
If Jones can avoid complacency, he is on the road to being the greatest of all time. He has the body and talent for it. But being young and having the world at your feet can lead to a fall. It happened to Tyson (and many others). At 25, can Jones avoid the temptations of fame that lead to complacency? The danger signs are there. He was convicted of DWI last year after putting his very expensive car into a phone pole. Tyson didn’t have good people around him to keep him out of trouble. Maybe Jones does through his family and training partners at Jackson MMA.
It will be the difference between being the best of all time, and being another story of a tragic fall of someone who peaked for a short time.