Jon Jones Heaps Praise on Conor McGregor for Changing the MMA Game: ‘He’s Always Going to Have My Support’

'Bones' believes Conor McGregor helped launch MMA into the global juggernaut that it is today

Conor McGregor
Courtesy of @UFCNews on Twitter

Jon Jones believes Conor McGregor has done more for mixed martial arts than any other fighter before him.

For more than a decade, fight fans have seen the sport dominated by two names; Jon Jones and Conor McGregor. Though their reigns have been strikingly similar at times, ‘Bones’ suggested that the Irishman has impacted MMA in a way that no other man has.

During a recent appearance on the OverDogs podcast, Jones shared his immense respect for the former two-division titleholder, crediting him with moving the sport forward and helping to make it the global juggernaut that it is today.

“I’d love to see McGregor come back. He will always get my PPV. I love what he did for the sport,” Jones said. “I love the businessman that he is, the mindset, the marketability. I mean he fast-forwarded this whole game up at least 10 years. And he’s always going to have my support.”

Jon Jones Stakes His Claim as the Greatest Fighter of All Time

Since making his promotional debut more than 15 years ago, Jon Jones has dominated the competition. During his run in the light heavyweight division, ‘Bones’ captured the title on two separate occasions and defended it an astonishing 11 times against some of the biggest names in the history of the sport, including Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, Vitor Belfort, Glover Teixeira, and Daniel Cormier

In 2013, ‘Bones’ competed in perhaps the greatest light heavyweight fight in UFC history, going toe-to-toe with Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165. Jones narrowly escaped with his title intact but secured a third-round knockout in their rematch five years later. 

Following a defense against Dominick Reyes in 2020, Jones walked away from the UFC intent on returning as a heavyweight. Three years later, ‘Bones’ did exactly that, securing a stunning first-round submission against Ciryl Gane to capture the vacant world title and solidify his claim as the greatest fighter in the history of the sport.

Next, he’ll attempt to take on the general consensus heavyweight GOAT Stipe Miocic as the pair are scheduled to headline the promotion’s return to the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden, for UFC 295 in November.

Conor McGregor’s Meteoric Rise

In the midst of Jon Jones’ domination of the light heavyweight division, a future superstar named Conor McGregor made his own debut and immediately caught the attention of the MMA world for his brash attitude and ability to back it up. 

After five straight wins against the likes of Max Holloway, Dustin Poirier, and Chad Mendes to win the interim featherweight title, the Irishman launched himself into superstardom with a shocking 13-second knockout of division icon Jose Aldo at UFC 194. ‘The Notorious’ era had officially begun.

McGregor went on to compete in some of the biggest fights in the promotion’s history, including back-to-back bouts with Nate Diaz and a lightweight title-winning performance against Eddie Alvarez, making him the first fighter in UFC history to hold two titles simultaneously. 

McGregor parlayed that success into a boxing match with legendary pugilist Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather in 2017, but the Irishman came up short, suffering a 10th-round TKO. Since then, he has struggled to find the win column, losing three of his last four, including a high-profile fight against UFC Hall of Famer Khabib Nurmagomedov.

McGregor may not see his hand raised much these days, but that hasn’t stopped him from drawing a crowd every time he straps on the four-ounce gloves. In fact, the Irishman is responsible for eight of the ten highest-grossing fights in UFC history, a record that will certainly stand the test of time. 

Published on September 2, 2023 at 11:09 am
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