UFC boss says middleweight champ still best pound-for-pound
On Saturday, Jones beat arch rival Rashad Evans by unanimous decision at UFC 145 in Atlanta. It was his third straight dominant title defense – though the first one he needed to go all five rounds in. Starting with UFC 126 in February 2011, Jones finished Ryan Bader and earned a title shot, finished Mauricio “Shogun” Rua to win the light heavyweight belt, finished Quinton “Rampage” Jackson in his first defense, finished Lyoto Machida less than three months later and capped it off with his win over Evans.
UFC president Dana White is the first to acknowledge Jones’ run has been a remarkable one. But when it comes to discussion of who the best pound-for-pound fighter in the spot is, White isn’t ready to give that spot to Jones just yet.
“It’s incredible – (Jones) did it in one year,” White told the media in Atlanta. “Anderson Silva‘s been doing it since like 2006. Until Anderson Silva loses and is knocked off that top notch, or until we (make a fight with) him and Jon Jones, I think (Silva is) the No. 1 pound-for-pound best fighter in the world.”
Silva, the UFC’s middleweight champion, has never lost in the company – 14 straight wins and nine straight successful title defenses, both UFC records. He’s really only been challenged once, and that was at UFC 117 against Chael Sonnen. And still, Silva walked away with the belt. The two rematch on July 7 in Las Vegas.
White alluded that the day may be coming when Jones can claim the top spot on the pound-for-pound list. Before Saturday night, the majority of MMA analysts and rankings had Silva No. 1, followed by UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre and then Jones and featherweight champion Jose Aldo flip-flopping between No. 3 and No. 4. But with St-Pierre on the shelf since his UFC 129 win over Jake Shields, his inactivity could push Jones up to No. 2.
“I think Anderson Silva has four fights left on his contract,” White said. “I’ve heard him talk about retiring, which makes sense. What a lot of people don’t realize about Anderson, too – we’re talking about (Jon Jones), a 24-year-old kid. Anderson Silva is (expletive) 36 years old and still doing amazing things and demolishing people. You’ve really got to put it all in perspective. To deny Anderson Silva is the best fighter in the world and probably the best ever is tough to do right now.”
In HeavyMMA’s most recent pound-for-pound rankings, Silva was No. 1, followed by St-Pierre at No. 2 and Jones at No. 3. But Jones could slide up a notch when Heavy publishes that category again on May 21.