The Return of Jon Jones

MMA is a strange world. This world can see someone elevated to the status of hero, demigod or legend in a short space of time. However, one can fall from grace at the same pace. Those who have suffered this fate have done so for a variety of reasons. Some failed to fulfill the potential they once had, while others fall foul of UFC policies.

Jon Jones epitomizes this sentiment; the American has tasted greatness and then endured the aftertaste of personal failings that most probably have left him and his fans ruing what could’ve been if Jones had simply kept himself from buccaneering towards the path of downfall.

Before Jones makes his return to the Octagon, all eyes will be fixed on UFC 229, which will see Conor McGregor make a return of his own, after 2 years away from the sport. His comeback will see him take on the undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov for the UFC Lightweight championship. McGregor vs Khabib odds currently see the defending champion as the favorite, with a price of 4/6.

A man of incredible pedigree

Jones could be lambasted for his self-destructive tendencies, but they are, perhaps, what makes his career so fascinating. Jones has remained as relevant as ever, despite the many highs and lows he has had.

Most people would say that within the light heavyweight division, Jones was almost untouchable. We shouldn’t forget that this man is the youngest champion in UFC history, having won the Light Heavyweight championship back in 2011 at the age of 23. It is an age at which, for most fighters, they are still honing their craft.

His tryst with destiny came when he was in need of a quick buck in light of his girlfriend becoming pregnant, and he started to spend more at an MMA gym. Within months he was given his first fight and a handful of fights followed in the next 3 months. He prevailed in all of them, before then racking up an impressive run once he entered UFC. He was able to come out victorious against the likes of Bonnar, Jake O’Brien, Brandon Vera, Matyushenko and the then-undefeated Bader.

One of his more memorable fights in the Octagon came against “Shogun” Rua at UFC 126. Jones produced a flawless display of technical prowess and striking profligacy that resulted in a dominant victory over Rua.

Winning the title is one thing, but defending it is another. Jones currently holds the record for the most consecutive successful title defenses. During his reign, his opponents struggled to cause him any significant problems, with “Rampage” Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans and Vitor Belfort all failing to defeat Jones.

His most recent suspension, in which he tested positive for turinabol, an anabolic steroid banned by the USADA, has allowed his naysayers to dismiss his ability and victories as being down to the use of performance enhancing drugs.

This isn’t the end of the road for him, yet.

That brings us to Jones and his somewhat tainted legacy. Jones was considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters for the majority of his time in UFC. He has been suspended three times during his time with the company, and two of those suspensions resulted in the championship being stripped from him.

Despite his suspensions, Jones is still poised to return to the UFC, with Alexander Gustafsson challenging the former champion to a match upon his return. There have also been talks of Jones once again fighting Daniel Cormier, a long-time rival.

It’s hard to forget the altercation that happened between Jones and Cormier during the promotional event for UFC 178, which earned Jones a fine of $50,000 and 40 hours of community service.

In both of their previous fights, Jones has come out on top. However, he was stripped of the title on both occasions, and in the most recent fight, the bout was declared as a no-contest. Should there be a third match between the pair, it’ll be interesting to see who is able to come out on top, assuming there is no controversy.

When Jones finally returns to the Octagon, he has a chance to redeem himself. A chance to prove that he is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC and that his problems are behind him. Only time will tell if this is indeed the case.

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