Is Jon Jones the UFC GOAT?

Is Jon Jones the UFC GOAT?

It’s been three long years, but Jon “Bones” Jones is finally stepping back inside the Octagon. The former two-time Light Heavyweight champion makes his return this Saturday to face Ciryl Gane in the main event at UFC 285, live from T-Mobile Arena on the Las Vegas Strip.


After such a long wait at the station, the Jon Jones betting train is full steam ahead at Bodog Sportsbook. Jones is one of the most popular – and most hated – fighters this sport has ever seen. He’s also a legitimate contender for UFC GOAT status as the Greatest Of All Time.

But is Jones indeed the UFC GOAT? And has he put himself at risk with this move up to the Heavyweight division? Let’s answer both those questions, and take a closer look at the legacy Jones has already built for himself.

Jones vs. Gane Betting

Jones (26-1, 1 NC lifetime; 20-1, 1 NC UFC) is without a doubt one of the finest competitors in MMA history. His only loss was a DQ versus Matt Hamill in 2009 because of illegal 12-to-6 elbow strikes. Jones has defeated the best this sport has to offer, but he was also stripped of his Light Heavyweight title twice, the first for improper conduct and the second for PED use.

The former champ is also coming off a pair of forgettable decision victories over Dominick Reyes and Thiago Santos, the latter by split decision. But he’s still the –185 favourite over Gane (12-1 lifetime, 9-1 UFC) in the UFC odds, the former interim Heavyweight champion. Gane (+145) failed to unify the titles when he lost to Francis Ngannou via unanimous decision at UFC 270; he’s as tough as they come, but Ngannou exposed his weaknesses when it comes to grappling, and Jones is certainly capable of doing the same.

Top Five Jon Jones Moments

At first glance, you wouldn’t think it would be easy boiling Jones’s stellar career down to five top moments. He’s accomplished just about everything possible inside the Octagon, and he’s done it against some seriously tough competition. But these five fights definitely stand out from the rest in our eyes.


1. UFC 128: Jones-Rua

Jones was already a star when he got his first title shot against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua on March 19, 2011 at the Prudential Center in Newark. But this is the fight that made Jones a superstar. Jones was available at –215 heading into this fight, and he completely dominated Rua in the first two rounds before putting him away in the third with a knee to the head, as Rua tapped out to make Jones the youngest champion in UFC history at age 23.

2. UFC 165: Jones-Gustafsson I

This was arguably the toughest test Jones has ever faced. Gustafsson was 15-1 lifetime and on a six-fight win streak when he challenged Jones for the Light Heavyweight strap at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre (now Scotiabank Arena) on September 21, 2013. Jones was still a massive –800 favourite, but he had to dig deep in the championship rounds to earn the unanimous decision in one of the greatest fights in UFC history.

3. UFC 182: Jones-Cormier I

If that first Gustafsson fight wasn’t the toughest of his career, his first encounter with Daniel Cormier definitely was. Jones was very much the “bad guy” by the time he arrived at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas on January 3, 2015. Cormier was 15-0, yet still available at +260 during fight week. He became the first person ever to take Jones down inside the Octagon, but the champion rallied to win via unanimous decision.

4. UFC 140: Jones-Machida

Fight fans were hungry to see the clash of styles between these two unconventional fighters, and they didn’t disappoint when they touched gloves on December 10, 2011 at the Air Canada Centre. Jones (–475) secured the second-round victory with a guillotine choke to hand Machida his first ever submission loss.

5. UFC 152: Jones-Belfort

Is it a coincidence that Air Canada Centre hosted this fight as well on September 22, 2012? Once again, Jones was the heavy favourite at –750 before this contest, but Belfort was the fan favourite, and he did some serious damage to Jones with an armbar before the champ slapped on a keylock early in the fourth round to defend his title.

UFC GOATs: The Contenders

It’s much harder to narrow down the list of Jones’s rivals for the Greatest Of All Time crown. The UFC itself has changed a lot in the 30 years since its founding; how do you compare the likes of Dan “The Beast” Severn and Ken Shamrock to today’s top stars? And what about pioneers like Ronda Rousey in the women’s divisions?

We have to have a GOAT, though, so here are the five UFC fighters we think measure up best to Jones, listed in no particular order:

Khabib Nurmagomedov: Retired undefeated at 29-0 after dominating the Lightweight division for three years.

Conor McGregor: “The Notorious One” was the biggest box-office star in UFC history, and their first dual champion.

Georges St-Pierre: The pride of Saint-Isidore, Quebec broke all the records as Welterweight champion, then came out of retirement in 2017 to take the Middleweight title before riding off into the sunset.

Anderson Silva: Long considered the top pound-for-pound fighter in the sport, “The Spider” held the Middleweight title for seven years from 2006-13, winning 16 straight fights – both UFC records.

Randy Couture: Bridging the gap between old-school UFC and today’s fighters, Couture still holds the record with six title reigns and 16 title fights.

Honourable mentions: Demetrious Johnson, Jose Aldo, Daniel Cormier, Alexander Volkanovski, Kamaru Usman, Israel Adesanya, Chuck Liddell, and Amanda Nunes.

Is Jones the UFC GOAT?

Accuse us of Canadian pride if you want, but if you ask veteran MMA fighters and fans around the world who the Greatest of All Time is, you’ll hear St-Pierre’s name more than anyone else’s. St-Pierre was the paragon of mixed martial arts, the perfect blend of talent, hard work and dedication to his craft – without any of the baggage. As they say, the most important ability in sports is availability.

But there’s still time for Jones to add to his legacy and seize the UFC GOAT throne. His quest resumes this Saturday at T-Mobile Arena. Bodog Sportsbook has all 14 scheduled fights waiting for you on the UFC 285 odds board, so keep checking in for the latest updates, and enjoy the show.