Before relinquishing the title in 2020 ahead of a planned move to heavyweight, Jones built a record-breaking tenure at 205 pounds. After becoming the youngest UFC titleholder in history with a victory over Maurício Rua in 2011, “Bones” went on to amass the longest light heavyweight reign in the promotion, as well as the most consecutive wins and title defenses in the division.
Given his accolades and two-time champ status, not to mention the fact that his sole defeat came via a controversial disqualification back in 2009, many have Jones firmly among their group of GOAT contenders.
However, for those who don’t share that sentiment on his career, there’s usually one fact that gets in the way — Jones has failed multiple drugs tests.
And despite all of his four indiscretions being cleared of intentional wrongdoing by official bodies, with conclusions ranging from a contaminated supplement to non-performance-enhancing amounts, many still place the test failures as a stain on Jones’ MMA legacy.
That includes former three-time Bellator champion and mixed martial arts veteran Michael Chandler.
Chandler Conflicted By “Asterisk” On Jones’ Career
During an appearance on the PBD Podcast, hosted by Patrick Bet-David, Chandler was asked for his take on a polarizing debate in the sport — who holds GOAT status?
While he appeared to suggest that Jones’ dominance would, on paper, lend itself to top spot, the #5-ranked UFC lightweight believes that the former light heavyweight king’s past drug failures automatically exclude him from contention.
“This one’s hard because I am very conflicted on Jon Jones because of the failed drug test,” Chandler said. “I feel like once you’ve failed a drug test, you somewhat pull yourself out of the GOAT talk. But I feel like Jon Jones is the most dominant fighter of all time, with the asterisk of he has failed some drug tests.”
Chandler has long campaigned for an ultra-clean sport and recently praised USADA for its work in light of troubling reports surrounding Conor McGregor’s test-free year. “Iron” also revealed his desire to earn a USADA jacket, which is awarded following a 50th clean test.
With that in mind, it’s perhaps unsurprising how much importance Chandler places on a drug-free career when considering his GOAT. One person who therefore passes the 36-year-old Missouri native’s criteria is Georges St-Pierre.
“I would put over him Georges St-Pierre because of the way he carried himself,” Chandler noted. “He did have some losses — Jon Jones is essentially undefeated. He’s never lost. He’s lost one fight by DQ…so he technically lost, (but) GSP is, to me, the GOAT.”
While the damage may already have been done in the eyes of those who share the same sentiment as Chandler, Jones doesn’t appear to have finished building his legacy and push for the GOAT label just yet.
For the past few years, “Bones” has been gearing up for a pursuit of gold in a new division. While his return is still yet to be announced, Jones has branded heavyweight glory his “destiny.”
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