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No. 1 bull sh—? UFC 294’s Islam Makhachev throws shade at Jon Jones over pound-for-pound ranking debate

Makhachev brought up a “Bones” scandal from more than one decade ago as proof he doesn’t deserves the top pound-for-pound spot.

Islam Makhachev would like everyone know that he no longer cares about those stupid Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) rankings.

It’s an ugly truth, anyway.

Nevertheless, Makhachev sits at No. 3 in the men’s pound-for-pound rankings, below Alexander Volkanovski (who he beat) and top dog, Jon Jones (who has one win in the past three years). The snub obviously bothers him, to the point that he brought it up unprompted during UFC 294 media day.

UFC CEO, Dana White, recently said he planned to have a quote from Makhachev painted on a wall in UFC’s Las Vegas, Nevada, Performance Institute.

It goes:

“What does this title represent? It means you’re the best in the world and if you’re the best in the world it doesn’t matter who is standing across from you. What do I say? No? Never. Let’s do this.”

Asked about the quote, Makhachev took a shot at Jon Jones.

“This is what UFC champions have to do — like real champions,” he said. “If you’re real champion you have to take this fight. Doesn’t matter how many days, who it’s going to be. Not like your pound-for-pound champion when they gave him Chael Sonnen. If you’re real champion, you have to fight.”

Way, way back in 2012, Jones refused to fight Sonnen at UFC 151 on one week’s notice after Dan Henderson injured his knee. The entire event ended up being canceled as a result.

“They put him No. 1,” Makhachev continued. “The No. 1 guy right now, who he beat in his last five fights? We don’t have some names from the top pound-for-pound rankings. And I just want to say about the rankings, about all these things, this is bulls— and I’m not following it anymore.”

This isn’t the first time Makhachev and Co. have attacked Jones for ending up above him in the contentious pound-for-pound rankings.

“This is bulls—, brother,” Makhachev said after Jones beat Ciryl Gane and rocketed back up to the top of the rankings. “How Jon Jones can be No. 1? He beat some guy who is not champion. This guy [Gane] don’t have belt, and they put him No. 1 pound-for-pound. This is bulls—. Doesn’t matter how he beat him. The UFC put him best pound-for-pound.”

It’s actually a collection of media members who vote on the pound-for-pound list, and one must be obtuse if he or she refuses to recognize the reason(s) Jones returned to No. 1 after winning the Heavyweight title. When Makhachev arrived in UFC, Jones had already defended his Light Heavyweight weight title NINE times. Eight years later, and he made winning the Heavyweight title against a top contender look easy.

You can trash the rankings panel for keeping Volkanovski above Makhachev after Islam beat him. That’s number one bulls—. But, keep Jon Jones’ name out of your mouth.

It’s not like he’s excited about it, either.


Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 294 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. ET, before the pay-per-view (PPV) main card start time at 10 p.m. ET (also on ESPN+).

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 294: “Makhachev vs. Volkanovski 2” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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