Jon Jones is either the GOAT and a walking asterisk depending on who you ask in the MMA community.
Whether you think his record is a testament to his natural talent and fight IQ, or whether you believe it is a testament to the impact of performance enhancing drugs, one thing is for sure – it reads like a murderer’s row.
Despite debates about whether it was done naturally, Jones acted as a proverbial buzz saw through one of the toughest divisions in the sport throughout a generation. Mauricio Rua, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, Quinton Jackson, Alexander Gustafsson, Daniel Cormier, Anthony Smith – the list could go on. But the one thing all these men have in common (alongside being some of the best ever) is that they’ve all fallen to Jones.
Yet there is one imperfection on this record – or two, if you count his stoppage win over Cormier being turned to a no contest.
The first ever mark in the L column (and the only mark there to this day) came as the result of a disqualification. No man beat Jones, but rather he was defeated by his own lack of knowledge concerning the rules.
Jones was facing Matt Hamill back when both men were prospects ready to jump up closer to the top ranks and eventually, the title picture. After taking the tough Hamill down, Jones unleashed a series of devastating elbows, which would later become one of his most dangerous strikes.
Unfortunately for Jones, some of those were 12-6 elbows. They were thrown straight down, corresponding with the position of the two numbers in the move’s name if one thinks of a clock face. The action was immediately halted, and with Hamill unable to continue, the referee disqualified Jones.
Jones considered it a blessing in disguise at the time. Not only did it mean he didn’t have to worry about protecting an undefeated record, but it made him more eager to learn the rules of the sport he’d taken to like a natural. Now, a decade later, Jones may be about to get his perfect record back.
Reports state that UFC President Dana White is attempting to get the controversial loss overturned. If White is successful, the fight will be changed to a no contest. Given that some feel Hamill was done well before the illegal strikes, some feel that’s what the result should’ve been all along.
The move itself being banned is a head-scratcher. As UFC commentator Joe Rogan explained when it happened, sanctioning bodies chose to ban it after seeing martial arts masters break blocks of ice with similar strikes. But in a sport where you can kick kneecaps, punch livers, and knee noses, a downward elbow doesn’t seem nearly as dangerous by comparison.
Add in that at a slight angle, either way, the elbow becomes legal. So, an 11-5 elbow or a 1-7 elbow would be totally fine. Will Jones’s only loss be overturned, or will the commission refuse to budge?