Jon Jones returned from his drug-test suspension to recapture the light heavyweight crown, thanks to a technical knockout win over Alexander Gustafsson in the UFC 232 pay-per-view (PPV) main event last Saturday night (Dec. 29, 2018) inside The Forum in Inglewood, California.
The belt was vacated by Daniel Cormier earlier in the week because “DC” is too busy defending the heavyweight strap to do work in both divisions. Of course, the only reason the Olympian had the title to begin with is because his loss to Jones was overturned in the wake of UFC 214 after “Bones” popped for Turinabol.
And it was that same banned substance that turned up in tiny doses prior to UFC 232, forcing the promotion to relocate the event after Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) demanded more time to investigate these latest findings.
If that sounds like a convoluted and somewhat protracted narrative; well, it is, and it made the light heavyweight division far more complicated than it ever needed to be, with the belt being tossed around like a game of hot potato.
But hey, why should this title reign be any different from his last ... or the one before that?
Jones (23-1, 1 NC) is probably the greatest pound-for-pound fighter in the sport with a resume that reads like a work of fiction. But instead of celebrating his dominant win over Gustafsson, which silences all doubts coming out of their first fight at UFC 165, we’re left wondering how long it will take Jones to fuck things up.
You know that old “fool me once” idiom about shame blame. Jones has been charged with a DUI, tested positive for cocaine, smashed his car into a pregnant woman, and flunked two drug tests for banned substances.
Remember when his eye pokes were our biggest complaint?
I’ll be honest, I don’t care about the character of Jones. Sometimes he’s a good dude, sometimes he’s a jerk. And he’s certainly not the first (and will hardly be the last) athlete to party during weekends and make poor choices with his supplementation.
My real issue is when Jones directly impacts forward progress in the 205-pound division. You can call yourself the champion without beating Jones, like Cormier, but you can’t call yourself the best light heavyweight in the world without defeating him.
If Jones can’t fight, then nothing that happens in the Top 5 has any real meaning, and that kinda sucks for the fighters who are putting in their time. The next two contenders after Gustafsson are Anthony Smith and Jan Blachowicz.
We can’t even talk about the next title shot because Jones still has to appear before NSAC and give a satisfactory explanation as to why picograms of Turinabol — regardless of how small they are — keep turning up in his system after more than a year
Jones is back on top where he belongs and he’s back on top because he’s the baddest motherfucker on the planet. Still just 31, there’s an outside chance he can restore his legacy by fighting clean and staying champion for the next several years.
If not, his legacy will transition from “the best who ever lived” to “who knows what could have been.”
For complete UFC 232: “Jones vs. Gustafsson 2” results, including play-by-play updates, click here.