Jon Jones walked away from UFC 247 with not only his light heavyweight title but a new record for most wins in title fights (14), surpassing former record holder Georges St-Pierre. But it was a close thing. Challenger Dominick Reyes made it very interesting in the early rounds, and it was only by the grace of the MMA gods that the judges in Houston awarded him the decision win with 48-47, 48-47, and 49-46 scores.
Following the fight, Jones was complimentary of Reyes but didn’t budge on his belief that he had won the fight.
”He lost,” Jones said simply. “It was close, but they say close only counts with horse shoes and hand grenades. He can try a thousand times. I believe I’ll edge him every single time.”
And according to Jones, he thinks perhaps he’s being graded a bit harder than the average fighter. Any time anyone manages to put up a competitive fight, he suspects they get more credit than they may deserve.
”I got to watch, I think it was Gilbert Melendez and I think it was Dominick Cruz, they did an interview where they watched my Thiago Santos fight,” Jones said. “They watched it without commentary and they also watched it after some time had passed and they got to look at it without all the emotion. And they realized maybe this fight, maybe Jon really did win this fight. So I think maybe I have set a high standard.”
”Out of thirty fights, maybe three people have put me into an actual competitive match,” he continued. “Seeing me with black eyes, seeing me get punched is not something that happens every time I show up. So people definitely get really excited, even when an opponent throws a jab. At one point I fell to the ground, I wasn’t hurt and bounced back up, but the fans loved that! So it’s hard when people expect great things out of you at all moments. I’m still a martial artist like everyone else, I bleed, I have insecurities, I have weakness, I have pain right now.”
”So it’s hard when you’re not only fighting for these records but you’re fighting for these peoples’ approval, you’re fighting to look extraordinary every time. That’s a lot of pressure.”
That pressure may only increase now that some fans suspect Jones may be losing that edge that has kept him on top of the 205 pound division for the last nine years. With the Santos fight and now the Reyes fights being tough, there’s certainly going to be more chatter that the latest batch of contenders are finally catching up skill wise.
”Unfortunately for some of my fans, Thiago Santos and Dominick Reyes, I couldn’t put them away and they challenged me,” Jones said. “And there’s good in that. One of Mike Tyson’s biggest problems was that he was so dominant, people lost interest. Fans got their money’s worth tonight by seeing me go through the ringer and getting to see the heart of a champion. That’s totally worth the 60 bucks you payed on pay-per-view. So there’s good. There’s good in this.”
As for what was next for the light heavyweight champ?
“No comment,” he said simply before cracking out Seattle Seahawks player Marshawn Lynch’s infamous line: “I’m just here so I don’t get fined.”