After lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov dominated interim champion Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 on Saturday, “The Eagle” announced his retirement from the sport. The win was Nurmagomedov’s fourth UFC championship victory and he improved his professional record to 29-0.
After he had his hand raised on October 24, The Eagle had one request for the promotion, to rank him No. 1 pound-for-pound on the official UFC rankings.
That spot has long been occupied by former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and he had something to say about Nurmagomedov’s request. “Bones” took aim at The Eagle’s claim to the top pound-for-pound label, something that Jones doesn’t want to relinquish.
Bones (26-1, 1 no contest) is currently on a mission to move up to heavyweight where he wants to earn the title and become a two-division UFC champ.
After Nurmagomedov’s victory, Jones tweeted, “Until I take that heavily crown, I grant you the spot. Enjoy Champ.” However, Bones would change his tune later.
Bones then pointed to the fact that he was won 15 title fights, although his second victory over Daniel Cormier was turned into a no-contest after testing positive for a banned substance. Bones tweeted, “15 world titles, numbers don’t lie.”
He then congratulated Khabib on his 29-0 career. Bones tweeted, “I want to congratulate Khabib for an outstanding career. I know he made his father along with millions of fans around the world incredibly proud today. May God continue to bless him on his journey.”
But then, Jones reiterated his point, writing, “Definitely a powerful moment, but my logic is definitely not clouded.”
Jones then took a break from Twitter for a few hours but returned to make his case against Nurmagomedov earning the top pound-for-pound spot.
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Jones Does Not Believe Nurmagomedov Deserves the No. 1 Pound-for-Pound Ranking Over Him
Later on Saturday, Jones started a stream of tweets by taking a shot at Nurmagomedov’s request to be placed No. 1 on the pound-for-pound list. Jones tweeted, “I’m just going to ask for the heavyweight championship belt and see if they give it to me. Since we can just ask for things now.”
The former light heavyweight king then responded to a Twitter user. The user wrote to Jones that Nurmagomedov wouldn’t receive the ranking if Bones’ last two fights against Thiago Santos and Dominick Reyes weren’t so close. Jones defeated Santos via split decision and Reyes via a close unanimous decision.
Bones responded, “I’ve won 15 world titles, he just won his 4th. The fact that this is even a conversation is mine blowing to me.”
A fan then tweeted to Jones, writing, “I think the reason they’re giving GOAT status is his level of dominance over literally everyone he has faced plus his record number and clean background. I think that’s why a lot are leaning that way.”
Jones has a history of failed drug tests, his most prominent being a failed test for turinabol, an anabolic steroid, after defeating Cormier in July 2017. It was determined by the United States Anti-Doping Agency that Bones did not knowingly take the substance.
He would later test positive for a small trace of turinabol, however it was determined that it was associated with his 2017 failed test and no action was taken against Jones.
Jones responded to the fan, writing, “The same Company who accused me of possible steroids vindicated me from it. If I just started fighting for titles four fights ago, I look like an absolute beast too. But OK, I guess you’re only worth your last performance in this game.”
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Bones Continued to Make His Case on Why He Is the No. 1 Pound-for-Pound Fighter
The former light heavyweight king continued to make his case against Nurmagomedov. He wrote, “I got signed by the UFC literally nine months after my very first MMA practice. Unheard of.”
Jones continued, “when I signed with Ufc I was one of the youngest fighters on the roster, youngest champion in the history of the sport and have only had three competitive fights.”
Responding to a fan telling him to go to bed, Bones tweeted, “I understand most people have never been number one in their community, state, let alone the world. My competitive nature won’t allow me to just stand by and see someone ask to be considered the best. I’ve sacrificed too much blood.”
Bones then tweeted that if Nurmagomedov surpassed him in the rankings, he wouldn’t “know what to think anymore.”
He continued, “Bro when you’re black in America, so many things don’t add up. I’m just calling it how it is. Have to work four times harder.”
He continued, “When people hang onto the [allegation] and completely undermines the vindication. Just don’t want to give credit where it’s due.”
A fan agreed with Jones, saying that he has faced tougher competition in his UFC tenure than Nurmagomedov. Bones answered, “Yet people want me to stay quiet and let him have his moment while I just sit back and watch my hard work get moved down the rankings. It’s not fair to my family, or the team of people who have sacrificed to get me this far.”
One fan then pointed to The Eagle’s dominance and finishing rate, winning 19 of his 29 fights by either KO, TKO or submission. On the other end, Bones has a comparable 16 finishes in his 28 matches, 17 if his knockout of Cormier in 2017 is included.
Jones replied, “Over 50% of my career have been title fights. LeBron James is allowed to win a game by one point but not Jon Jones. Man I have really spoiled you guys.”
He continued, “If we’re having a popularity contest, I’d gladly take my L. This s*** has nothing to do with fame or being a good person. I’ve giving my whole adult life to this game, I owe it to myself to speak up.”
Jones finished, reiterating that he respects Nurmagomedov but believes he is the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world. He wrote, “Not salty at all, I really do respect Khabib, I honor the type of man he is. But being the best is earned not given. Unfortunately four title fights aint it, no matter how much we all like em.”