Dana White has seen Jon Jones at his very best, but even he struggled to find the words to describe the MMA legend’s latest feat.
Jones returned to the cage in top form Saturday at UFC 285 in Las Vegas where he fought Ciryl Gane for a vacant heavyweight title. In short time, Jones took Gane to the mat before eventually submitting him a couple of minutes into Round 1.
It was Jones’ first fight in three years and he didn’t miss a beat. Along with his previous unmatched accomplishments in the light heavyweight division, White believes there’s no more debate about who the greatest fighter of all time is.
“Holy was accompanied by ***,” White at the post-fight press conference. It’s hard to believe that anyone would say this man isn’t the GOAT. Not only is he the greatest light heavyweight ever, he looks like the greatest heavyweight ever too.
” I mean, in a few interviews prior to the fight, he said, “I’m going make this look effortless” and that seemed silly. It’s un-f******-believable, he really is.”
Jones’ hiatus from competition was motivated primarily by the former light heavyweight champion wanting to take the time to properly transition to the heavyweight division. However, during his time away, Jones also lost time due to a public contract dispute with the UFC as well as various legal problems, including an arrest for domestic violence in Las Vegas that occurred the night that he was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in September 2021.
White hesitated about whether Jones could be expected to keep the straight and narrow moving forward. Instead, he focused on Jones’s impressive performance by picking up exactly where he left off at the octagon.
“Let’s just put it this way: There’s no doubt that Jon Jones is special,” White said. “He’s the greatest of all time. He’s undefeated, he’s never lost a fight ever in the UFC, he’s fought all the best competition out there, but dealing with him is like dealing with an artist is the best way to explain it. It’s hard to predict what will happen next. I’m just happy we got to see what we saw tonight.
“And many of us that have been in the game for a long time, some of you might disagree, some of you might agree, I’m a big believer in ring rust and what it does. It was impossible to even see any ringrust. Who knows if there was any ring rust tonight. It was like he just went into it and made it seem like nothing. He’s a total freak of nature and he’s the best ever.”
The flip side to Jones’ win was that of former heavyweight champion Ciryl Ganes, who suffered the most devastating loss in his career. Rather than criticize Gane, White focused on Jones’ performance and how he feels that Jones is simply in another class from his peers.
“The Francis fight if [Gane] doesn’t go for the heel hook, he wins that fight,” White said. “He made one silly mistake out of the five rounds. Tonight, to even compare Francis Ngannou or Ciryl Gane to Jon Jones, you can’t. These two men are not comparable.
“He entered there and completed–I can still f ****** not believe what I saw. It’s amazing to me how easy, fast, and simple it was. It’s difficult to talk about him or any of the other heavyweights .”
“Even if you look at him tonight, he’s had three years to put on the weight,” White later added. Many people thought he looked soft. Ciryl Gane is a monster in great physical shape and everything else. Jon Jones took him in and treated him as a child. He is definitely the right level. Jon Jones .”
is the highest level.
Jones has plenty of opponents if he wants to make another great run in another division. Two-time UFC champion Stipe Miocic appears to have first dibs as both he and White mentioned earlier this week that the plan was for Miocic to challenge the UFC 285 main event winner.
Miocic said the UFC had already told him he’d likely fight for the title in July during the UFC’s International Fight Week. White said that Miocic would be next but could not confirm when.
“I don’t know when, but he’s definitely fighting Stipe,” White said.