Given MMA’s rising popularity over the last few years, it was only a matter of time before we started comparing MMA fighters to mainstream boxing legends.
“How does Jon Jones stack up against the greatest combat sports fighters of all-time?” by Kevin Iole (Yahoo News, 4/24/13), does a great job putting this comparison in perspective.
After reading it, I asked myself the same question: is Jon Jones really on his way to becoming the best fighter of all time? Its hard to look at it objectively. Given my own background in MMA, I’m naturally biased towards fighters in the UFC and other MMA organizations.
Whether or not you think Jon Jones is the best fighter is obviously a matter of debate. Is MMA even in the same category as boxing? Or is it apples and oranges?
Sure they are both combat sports. But both sports have different levels of training, rules, and strategy.
So how do you compare legendary boxers to legendary MMA fighters? Comparing fighters’ age, skills, and level of competition is a start, but ultimately it probably comes down to your point of view.
I like Iole’s article because it takes a chance by provocatively grouping these fighters together. Comparing Jon Jones to boxing legends like legends Sugar Ray Robinson, Muhammad Ali, or Mike Tyson is bound to start some passionate debates.
Some might argue that it’s insulting to even compare Jones to these guys; others say it’s a natural comparison given Jones’s rapid rise to stardom.
Keep in mind that unlike Muhammad Ali or Mike Tyson, Jones’s career is happening right now. We’ve all been able to watch Jon Jones since the beginning of his exceptional MMA career.
If Jones isn’t number one yet, it may only be a matter of time. Jones has essentially cleared the light-heavyweight division top-to-bottom. Shogun, Machida, Bader, Evans, and others- and these matches weren’t even that close.
He’s absolutely dominated one of the most stacked division is the UFC. And he’s only 25. I think just started MMA when I was 25…
Whatever you think of Jon Jones, he’s clearly someone special. Whether you are a boxing or MMA a fan, you have to acknowledge that watching this guy crush some of the best fighters on the planet is what combat sports is all about. And to do so at such young age is certainly an inspiration to us all.
I wonder, in 20 years will we be comparing every fighter to Jon Jones? Given how much he’s already accomplished, I certainly hope so. Afterall, records are made to be broken.