Jon Jones aims to be the greatest UFC fighter of all time

Jon Jones aims to be the greatest UFC fighter of all time

Jon Jones has spent the last three years at his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, focusing on being with family, hunting, and getting ready for his big comeback. He has hired a team to help him prepare for his step up to the heavyweight division, attempting to end any doubt about his position as the greatest fighter in UFC history.
Jones made that case as a light heavyweight, winning a record 14 title fights and going on an 18-match unbeaten streak, giving him a 26-1 record with one no-contest. Next up is France’s Ciryl Gane, the top-ranked heavyweight with an 11-1 record.

Jones is fighting to be the greatest fighter ever, not just the best pound-for-pound fighter at the moment, a spot currently held by featherweight Alexander Volkanovski. His fight against Gane for the vacant heavyweight title is the headline event of UFC 285, with just about all eyes on Jones.

He not only must prove that he can be as successful in the heavyweight division as he was one level down but also that the long layoff won’t negatively affect him.

Jones said he hasn’t been idle even if he hasn’t fought in the UFC since defeating Dominick Reyes by unanimous decision on Feb. 8, 2020. He said he has become stronger than ever, even if his body isn’t as toned, but Jones said that’s because of the added weight to fight in the highest class.

Should Gane, a plus-138 underdog according to FanDuel Sportsbook, pull off the victory, it would set him up for a potentially big year. Not only would he claim the heavyweight belt, but a win would also put him in line for a meeting with second-ranked Stipe Miocic.

ESPN reported Friday night that UFC president Dana White told reporters Miocic “absolutely” would face the winner of the Jones-Gane bout.

Jones is confident this fight will end like so many others, and he questioned Gane’s willingness to fight, saying it didn’t show up when he lost to Francis Ngannou by unanimous decision on Jan. 22, 2022. But Du Plessis also offered a word of caution.

“Three years is a very long time,” Du Plessis said. “I don’t think he’s a guy that’s going to struggle with ring rust. I just think the game changes and it changes fast, especially these past two years. The game waits for no man.”

Even a victory, however, wouldn’t put Gane’s resume on the same level as Jones. Jones was suspended for a year in 2016 for a failed drug test and had his 2017 victory over Daniel Cormier turned into a no-contest after another drug test came up positive.

The United States Anti-Doping Agency changed the criteria for what constitutes a positive test in 2019, and Jones let it be known he would have passed under the revised standards. Jones hopes that with these rule changes, he can go back and make that no-contest a win. That would mean a lot to him.

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