In just five short years, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has rocketed into the conversation about the greatest fighters of all time.
He readily admits that it’s still too soon for him to challenge Anderson Silva for top honors as the top pound-for-pound fighter on the planet, but Jones fully intends to keep working in that direction.
The next step is laying sole claim to the UFC record for most light heavyweight title defenses, which he currently shares with UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz.
Jones’ recent destruction of Chael Sonnen at UFC 159 put him on par with Ortiz’s mark of five successful light heavyweight title defenses. Now, before he considers moving into superfights or the heavyweight division, he wants to break that record.
“One thing I’ve been contemplating is first tying Tito Ortiz, and then establishing that record of the most (light heavyweight title defense) wins in my next fight, maybe in November, and after that fight in November, entertaining superfights and heavyweight fights,” said Jones.
Ortiz has always carried his achievements proudly, but if anyone is going to surpass him in the record books, he’s okay with it being Jon Jones.
“I don't want to see him break my record,” Ortiz told MMAWeekly.com content partner Knockout Radio on Wednesday night. “But if anyone is going to beat my record, I would like to see Jon Jones do it because he is that special of an athlete.
“He's got great speed, great balance, great wrestling technique, and his mind is super strong. It's just one of those things that, if he does beat my record, I guess I can give him nothing but respect because, if anyone is going to break my record, I would like to see Jon Jones do it.”
Ortiz would even go so far as to make sure he’s in attendance at Jones’ next fight – whenever that should be – to see if his record falls to the wayside.
“Of course I'm going to show up,” he declared. “I'm not going to miss that. I want to watch, in person, the guy who is going to beat my record. I would love to be a part of something great at that event.”
Jones is currently nursing an injured foot, expecting to be sidelined for the next few weeks, so it's unclear just how soon he'll be bak in the Octagon, gunning for sole possession of the record. But rest assured, he'll be gunning for it.