Jon Jones has learned the hard way how quickly you can lose everything, and ahead of UFC 239, he’s not willing to concede that he’s the best fighter ever.
Las Vegas, NV — If UFC 239 is the crown jewel of the UFC’s year (and it certainly feels like it), then Jon Jones is the crown jewel of the show. One of the last remaining bonafide stars currently active in the promotion, one who was here before the Rouseys and McGregors, and who still remains in their absence.
Of course, he’s had his troubles, but Jon Jones 2019 seems like a fighter renewed. He’s even got one of those shiny new UFC belts, though there’s just one thing missing from it. Well, several, actually.
Asked by Cageside Press about the belt, which is supposed to get a ruby for each title defense, Jones pointed out that “it’s just the one [ruby] since I won it in March, which I think is B.S.”
“Every time you get a win, they put a red ruby on the belt,” Jones confirmed, adding “this is going to be my fourteenth win, so there should be thirteen red rubies over there.”
Instead, “there’s only one, I have to get my second one after July 6.” Of course, Jones is counting his inaugural title win, not to mention interim title win (he was later stripped). And the fight against Daniel Cormier that was overturned to a No Contest. And yes, Jones does have his old belts. But it does feel as if those old title defenses, with the exception of the Cormier fight, should be represented.
That’s a lot of UFC history right there. It has been over eight years since a young Jon Jones won the light heavyweight title from the legendary Shogun Rua. What has kept him motivated after all this time, with so many fighters coming for him, is faith.
“I think faith. Faith and self-belief. Aligning yourself with the right people. I think that’s it right there.”
As for how 2019 Jon Jones compares to 2011 Jon Jones, the champ admitted that “2011 Jon is a lot wilder, a lot younger. Felt invincible. I don’t think I was as appreciative. Today, I know I’m very human. I’ve made a lot of mistakes. Today I know you can lose it all. So what I do differently is do everything to keep it all. Try to do the right things.”
In short, he said, “I’m trying to allow my character to catch up to my abilities and my talent.”
As for Jones’ status as the GOAT, well, “I don’t feel like I’m the best ever,” he said. “I don’t. I feel like I have a lot to prove. I feel like if I can retire, doing the right things, and continue to win fights, I’ll allow other people to call me that.”
Jones’ pick for the greatest fighter of them all? “Anderson Silva. To me, he’s my best ever.”
Jon Jones returns against Thiago Santos at UFC 239 this Saturday, July 6 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV.