We all make mistakes. We have done things we regret, sometimes these mistakes follow you for the rest of your life. Jon Jones is the greatest MMA fighter in UFC history but his mistakes have tarnished his legacy beyond repair. He won’t be remembered for being a great fighter. The story will always be what he could have been if not for his mistakes. He could have been a cultural icon like Chuck Liddell or even reached the pantheon of Muhammad Ali. Bold statements but that was the reality for him, extreme talent in the octagon, a great personality and a great look. He had all the tools to be the man forever associated with mixed martial arts, but he blew it.
Jon Jones made his MMA debut in 2008 at the age of 21. He immediately made an impact starting his career 7-0 and finding himself with an opportunity to join the vaunted UFC just four months into his career. Jone dominated his first three appearances in the UFC leading to a new four fight contract with the UFC signed in September of 2009. With the new contract came his biggest opportunity in the business taking on reality TV star Matt Hamil. Jones dominated Hamil throughout the fight but was disqualified for using 12-6 elbows on a downed Hamil. This disqualification loss is the only loss Jones has taken thus far in his career. Just two years later Jones worked his way to the title, replacing an injured Rashad Evans, knocking out “Shogun” Rua in March of 2011. He was cemented as the youngest champion in UFC history and was ready to build himself into the face of the sport.
Everything was in front of this 23-year old champion. He had all the tools to dominate in the octagon while being a marketing dream. He had it all. He began a torrid run through the top contenders Rampage Jackson, Rashad Evans, Vitor Belfort, Lyoto Machida, Chael Sonnen, Glover Teixeira, Alexander Gustafsson and Daniel Cormier. Jones had cleared out the division. His dominance was similar to future stars Rhonda Rousey and Connor McGregor. Jones showed his ego leading into matchups with Cormier and Evans. He had a cockieness that accentuated his dominance. He could play the villain with the skills of the hero. To build him up as the unbeatable champion that would dominate the division and hold the belt forever would only make it sweeter when one day he would slip up and lose. That moment would be a milestone that not only ended one great run but created a new superstar.
Jon Jones never should have a chance to pass the light heavyweight torch. There shouldn’t be a final fight for Jones, he has proven that he is not responsible enough to be in the forefront of an organization. He was a complete disappointment to himself, the organization and the sport in general. While we can forgive mistakes we can not overlook them. We can only give people chances so many times. I am a fan of MMA and supported Jones because I saw his potential. I saw a guy that was revolutionary in his style and ability. It has been 12 years since his first MMA fight and he still is the best in his division. Imagine a major sports team that was dominant for that amount of time. Jordan’s Bulls only win six titles, the Yankees had gaps in between their dynasties, the Patriots couldn’t hold their grasp on #1 forever, even Tiger Woods was overtaken by Vijay Singh at one point in his dominant run. What this man has done in a sport where you can lose in literally one second is revolutionary. His dominance should be his legacy. He should be the Jerry West logo of the UFC, but his ability will be an afterthought and his controversies will live on forever. Jon Jones could have been the greatest of all time but he is now just Jon Jones the greatest runined it.
Just some of the records Jon Jones has:
Longest unbeaten streak in UFC history (18).
Most light heavyweight title defenses.
Youngest UFC Champion in history (23 years old).
Most submission victories in UFC light heavyweight history (5).
Most stoppage wins in UFC light heavyweight history (10).
May 2012 – DUI- Drove his car into a pole in Binghamton, New York.
Jan. 2015 – Failed drug test before UFC 182.
April 2015 – Fled the scene of a hit and run.
March 2016 – Jones is jailed in Albuquerque for violating probation. A week earlier, he was cited by police on five charges related to drag racing, and footage from a police body camera captured Jones calling the officer a “f—ing liar” and a “pig.”
July 2016 – Tested positive for two banned substances prior to UFC 200.
August 2017 – flagged for a potential doping violation by USADA, stemming from his test sample that was collected on July 28, one day before his rematch against Cormier at UFC 214.
December 2018 – Jones is drug tested on the day of weigh-ins, and a trace amount of Turinabol, the same steroid metabolite that earned him his ban, is again found in his system.
July 21, 2019 – Albuquerque TV station KRQE reports that Jones, facing a battery charge stemming from the April strip club complaint.
March 26, 2020 – Jones is arrested in New Mexico for alleged aggravated DWI and negligent use of a firearm.