Who is the greatest fighter in all of mixed martial arts (MMA)?
Before he set sail for ONE Championship, former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) flyweight champion, Demetrious Johnson, battled for that distinction with current UFC light heavyweight kingpin, Jon Jones.
Arguments in favor of the once-beaten Jones (23-1, 1 NC) point to his reign of terror in the 205-pound weight class, along with dominant wins over a slew of current and former champions including Daniel Cormier, Rampage Jackson, and Shogun Rua, just to name a few.
Working for Johnson (27-3-1) is the fact that he’s never failed a drug test and set a UFC record for consecutive title defenses, thanks to what is widely-considered the most balanced and well-rounded skillset in all of MMA.
And UFC color commentator, Joe Rogan, has called them both.
“Here’s what’s disappointing to me, that for whatever reason, ‘Mighty Mouse’ never became a giant superstar,” Rogan said (transcribed by BJPenn.com). “That confused the shit out of me. When he took Ray Borg and suplexed him and caught him with an armbar on the way down… I was like what the fuck does this guy have to do to become a superstar? I mean his skill level is off the chart. He doesn’t get hit. He’s a dazzling fighter. He puts on shows.”
While Jones was serving his most recent drug-test suspension, Johnson dropped a hotly-contested decision to longtime nemesis, Henry Cejudo, before arranging a trade to ONE Championship in exchange for Ben Askren.
Jones has since returned to action, courtesy of last month’s drubbing over Alexander Gustafsson (highlights).
“[Johnson is] the best ever,” Rogan continued. “He’s the best, physically, ever. The only thing that keeps him from being thought of as universally the greatest of all time is Jon Jones. Jon Jones has been able to beat better guys. Jon Jones fights a better caliber of competition because the 205-pound weight class, at least at one point in time, had a deeper talent pool.”
Both combatants have 16 finishes, though “Bones” has them in fewer fights.
While Jones has been able to reclaim his light heavyweight crown, he’s currently ranked behind Daniel Cormier in the promotion’s “official” pound-for-pound rankings (see them here), probably because “DC” moved up to heavyweight and won the division strap.
Maybe it’s time to add a few extra names to this debate?