Less than a month after beating Daniel Cormier for the Light Heavyweight Championship at UFC 214, Jon Jones has tested positive for a banned substance – again. The results add to a laundry list of controversies and scandals that Jones has been involved in during his career. As of now, it’s unknown if Jones will be stripped of his title, but the backlash of these findings could be severely detrimental to his historic legacy.
Jones’ rise to the top of the UFC was sudden. After slicing through current Bellator LHW champion Ryan Bader in a title eliminator, Jones went on to dominate MMA all-timer Mauricio “Shogun” Rua to capture his first Light Heavyweight Championship. His ensuing run as the titleholder is one of the greatest in combat sports history -- as he utterly dismantled a deep Light Heavyweight division.
Jones beat four consecutive former UFC champions in Rampage Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans and Vitor Belfort. A broken toe didn’t stop him from securing a TKO victory over Chael Sonnen. A UFC 165 tilt versus the rangy Alexander Gustaffsson was marked as a potential end to his reign by critics. The skilled Swede gave Jones all he could handle before losing a close decision. Jones has been virtually unstoppable in his nearly decade-long UFC run. The only blemish on his record came on a disqualification, and Jones has routinely defeated the best the division has to offer.
Cormier posed a deadly threat to Jones’ near-perfect record. The highly-touted Olympic grappler had tremendous success in two weight divisions, and possessed the skill-set to disrupt any top fighter. The build up to each fight was compelling, with Jones relishing his “heel” persona in the rematch. The knockout win at UFC 214 was a fitting end to the rivalry. Jones’ grace in victory by commending Cormier for his character and class won over fans and media alike. It was the perfect redemption story – until it wasn’t.
In the last four years, Jones has been involved in a hit-and-run, caught with multiple illegal substances, and checked into rehab. The enigmatic superstar has relinquished the title once before, and there’s a chance he does so again if the results hold.
Speculative super fights between current Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic and WWE Superstar Brock Lesnar are forced to be put on hold for the time being. The length of Jones’ impending suspension is up in the air. A repeat offender is likely to get a harsher punishment, so don’t expect to see JBJ headlining a UFC event any time soon.
Sources: Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports, ESPN