UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones appeared on ESPN’s “First Take” Wednesday ahead of his UFC 247 title defense against undefeated contender Dominick Reyes in Houston. The 32-year-old from Rochester, N.Y., didn’t mince words when asked to compare his stellar MMA resume to that of the UFC’s No. 2-rated pound-for-pound fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov.
“I think Khabib’s an amazing fighter,” Jones said. “He’s done a great job representing UFC. He’s a great ambassador for our sport. But if you were to ask some MMA experts about myself and Khabib, I think most people would be able to tell our resumes are completely different.”
While both Jones and Nurmagomedov currently hold UFC titles in their divisions, Jones pointed to his long history of work over higher-level opposition as to why he’s No. 1.
“I’ve fought so many world champions that I’ve defeated,” Jones said. “Khabib, a lot of his victories are against a lot of people that are relatively unknown. I’ve been fighting legends since I was a young man.”
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Both Jones and Khabib are Dominant UFC Champions
Both Jones (25-1) and Khabib (28-0) are virtually unbeatable in the Octagon. Jones’ lone loss came way back in 2009 against Matt Hamill in a contest Jones was dominating before he was disqualified for using illegal 12-to-6 elbow strikes.
Meanwhile, Nurmagomedov has yet to taste defeat. The 31-year-old’s biggest wins include defeating Conor McGregor at UFC 229 via fourth-round submission in 2018 and choking out Dustin Poirer at UFC 242 in 2019.
But Jones’ resume is comparatively stacked, thanks in large part to him becoming the youngest UFC champion in the history of the company at 23 when the American defeated Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 128 back in March 2011.
Among the other notable wins Jones has stacked up over the years include defeating Ryan Bader, Lyoto Machida, Vitor Bellfort, Chael Sonnen, Alexander Gustafsson (twice), Daniel Cormier (twice) and Thiago Santos.
Jones Calls Move to Heavyweight Division ‘Inevitable’
Now Jones hopes to add a victory over Reyes (12-0) to his ledger. Reyes, 30, from Victoriaville, Calif., is the fourth-ranked contender in the UFC’s 205-pound division, but the highest-rated fighter in the weight class Jones has not already defeated.
But Jones seems to be running out of fights at light heavyweight, which is why the fighter has been teasing moving up to heavyweight over the years to capture gold in the heavyweight division.
Jones addressed that possibility again on ESPN’s “First Take” Wednesday.
“In order to put a lot of this pound-for-pound or ‘who’s the greatest’ to rest, I’m gonna have to maybe obtain a second belt in a different weight class,” Jones said. “I think that would really set me apart from a lot of guys. The move’s inevitable.”
Before that happens, of course, Jones needs to beat Reyes this weekend.
UFC 247 takes place Saturday at the Toyota Center in Houston. The main card airs on ESPN+ pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and early prelims on UFC Fight Pass/ESPN+.