Jon Jones is regarded by many as the best mixed martial artist in the history of the sport, and he proved it once again in the main event of UFC 247 in Houston on Saturday night.
Aside from his memorable war with Alexander Gustafsson in 2013 and a dubious disqualification loss to Matt Hamill early in his career, “Bones” has destroyed every man he’s ever faced. The man has no equal, but he was forced to dig deep Saturday against previously unbeaten challenger Dominick Reyes.
Reyes came right at Jones (26-1, 1 NC) with a maelstrom of punches and kicks, just like he said he would. Reyes’ pressure early on was intense and he forced Jones into a slugfest on multiple occasions. However, Reyes’ insane pressure eventually faded, and Jones did what he does best, which is pick his foe apart with laser-like precision and uncanny striking from all angles. Once Jones put things into high gear, Reyes couldn’t keep up.
“A part of me wanted to see how long he could keep that up,” Jones told the assembled media at the post-fight press conference. “I wanted to see what he had to offer and embrace it. I think I took his best punches. I think my chin is very underrated.”
Reyes, even though he got on his bike and gave away the last half of the fifth round in a fight that was too close to call, believes he won. He complained to Joe Rogan and intimated that he felt he was jobbed by the cage side judges, but Jones, naturally, doesn’t see it that way.
“I don’t think Dominick has any excuses for losing tonight,” he said. "He lost. He didn’t get any takedowns. I did and I took his back. Its hard to speak with confidence [about what happened] without watching the fight.”
The fight was one of the most exciting of Jones’ career up to now and there was talk throughout the MMA world about a rematch down the road. Reyes is still a young fighter with plenty to perfect and the notion is that a better version of Reyes could possibly dethrone Jones, something nobody has been able to do.
“It’s my job to embrace the toughest challenges,” he stated. “It’s my job to sign the contract. If people want to see me fight Dominick again, it’s up to Dana White to make that happen. The fans got their money’s worth tonight with seeing me go through the ringer and showing the heart of a champion.”
Jones set the record for most successful title wins in UFC history with 14, passing the great Georges St. Pierre by one. It’s a feat Jones is proud of, but he thinks he won’t receive a ton of praise for it until several years pass.
“I think years from now people are going to appreciate what I’ve done,” he said. “I don’t think anybody is going to break this record. Mixed martial arts is getting harder and harder. I think I’ll appreciate what I’ve done 10 years from now when this record is still standing.”
Jones was in great spirits at the press conference and was all smiles. That is, however, until he was pressed about a possible showdown with new rival and middleweight champion Isreal Adesanya. The two have been squabbling in the media for weeks and Jones was none too pleased to give any of his spotlight to “The Last Stylebender.” When he was asked about Adesanya, Jones ended the presser abruptly.
“No comment,” he stated. “I’m just here so I don’t get fined. I wish you all nothing but the best. Where’s that pizza?”