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Dana White Says Jon Jones Is the UFC's Best Fighter Ever

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJanuary 30, 2021

Jon Jones goes through his pre-fight routine in the ring before a light heavyweight mixed martial arts bout against Dominick Reyes at UFC 247 Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
Michael Wyke/Associated Press

UFC President Dana White said two-time light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is the greatest fighter in the MMA promotion's history.

White told TMZ Sports in an interview released Saturday that while Jones is the all-time GOAT, lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is the best active fighter, though his status is uncertain after he retired following an October title defense against Justin Gaethje.

He also lamented Jones' only career loss (26-1 with one no contest), a disqualification against Matt Hamill in December 2009 for illegal downward elbows, which he believes should have only been a point deduction.

"It shouldn't have happened that way," White said. "He shouldn't have a loss, so it's unfortunate."

Nurmagomedov has earned a place in the "greatest ever" conversation—a discussion that also includes the likes of Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva—with a series of impressive performances in recent years, including submission wins over Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje.

Amanda Nunes is also starting to make her own case by reigning over both the women's featherweight and bantamweight divisions in recent years.

That said, it's hard to argue against White's selection of Jones. The way he performed at his peak, including four high-profile wins in a single calendar year in 2011 when he first won the light heavyweight belt, was a level of dominance that took the UFC by storm.

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The New York native took on every challenger the division had to offer over the course of a decade and never relinquished the belt via loss. He was stripped of the title three times but returned on each occasion to win it back in his next fight. He vacated the belt in August.

It's fair to argue Jones' legacy has been tarnished by failed drug tests and legal troubles, and his decision to vacate the title leaves his future up in the air.

Yet from a purely fighting standpoint, the UFC has never witnessed another fighter who could completely own a division filled with so many legitimate threats to his title for so long. It was an impressive run of both elite skill and terrific durability.

Now the question is exactly when, or perhaps if, he'll return to show he's still one of the best at age 33.

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