One of the greatest Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters of all time, Jon Jones, returned to action at UFC 285. Although Jon had a long lay-off of 3 years, he did not appear to have lost a step. He went inside the Octagon to face Ciryl Gane, and within 2:04 minutes, became the undisputed UFC world heavyweight champ.
With the emphatic win on March 4th, 2023, there is zero doubt who the best of all time is. While Daniel Cormier held both light heavyweight and heavyweight titles simultaneously, Jon did not seem to rate DC’s accomplishments. In his mind, the 35-year-old is undoubtedly the GOAT of MMA.
The sweetest sound you'll hear all weekend 🔊 #UFC285 pic.twitter.com/n2MOjU1b4Y— UFC (@ufc) March 5, 2023
Recently, he revealed his personal GOAT rankings. While Khabib Nurmagomedov, Anderson Silva, and Jose Aldo made the list, he kept himself at the top of the tree. Many fans disagreed and voiced their opinion that Khabib Nurmagomedov should have topped the list. However, even Khabib’s own father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, perhaps would have agreed with Jon.
Khabib’s father calls Jon Jones a god-gifted fighter
Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov passed away in 2020. However, before his death, Abdulmanap built up fighters such as his own son, Khabib, the current UFC lightweight champ Islam Makhachev, and the current Bellator 155 lbs champ Usman Nurmagomedov. They are some of the best fighters in the MMA world at the moment. However, it was Jon Jones that Abdulmanap rated higher than anyone else in the sport.
During a 2016 interview with Red Corner MMA, Khabib’s father made a huge claim. He added, “Jon Jones got his talents from God, not from Greg Jackson (Jon’s coach). Greg Jackson is a good striking coach. Don’t confuse those things”
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“Jon Jones is #1 out of all fighters. Maybe not in terms of behavior, or the law, or something else. But I’m confident that he’ll wipe out the top-5 heavyweights except for two guys. Two guys are uncertain, but he’ll wipe out the rest. That’s my expert opinion,” said Nurmagomedov.
After Jon’s win, he ascended the P4P rankings and regained the no. 1 spot once more. Jon was demoted down the rankings after his 3-year inactivity. But he displaced Alexander Volknovski and once again became the P4P king. However, fans have pointed out something interesting in Abdulmanap’s statement. He did mention that there were two heavyweight fighters that could cause Jon problems.
But he did not elaborate on his statement and did not reveal the fighters he was referring to. It is also important to note that the interview was from 2016, it was even two years prior to Khabib beating Conor McGregor to become the lightweight champ at UFC 229. It is safe to assume that one of the fighters was Stipe Miocic, who won the heavyweight title in May 2016.
At the time Francis Ngannou was not a prominent name. Perhaps the other fighter was Khabib’s teammate Cain Velasquez. Prior to Miocic, Velasquez was hailed as the greatest heavyweight of all time. Hence, there is a chance that Abdulmanap was hinting at Cain as one of Jon’s toughest match-ups. While fans will perhaps see Jon vs Stipe at UFC 290, they will never know who the other fighter was.
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