• UFC 159

Jones: I may have to beat Anderson to become the best

ESPN staff
April 26, 2013
Jones talking to ESPN

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Jon Jones has confessed he may have to beat Anderson Silva to prove he is the greatest mixed martial artist that has ever lived.

Jones meets Chael Sonnen at UFC 159 on Saturday, defending his light-heavyweight title for a fifth time. Victory would only rubber-stamp his dominance of the 205lb division.

Silva enjoys the same level of supremacy at middleweight, and holds a plethora of UFC records including most consecutive wins (16), most finishes (14), most successful title defences (10) and longest reign as champion.

The pound-for-pound rankings have Silva at one and Jones at two, a situation that is unlikely to change even if the American beats Sonnen this weekend.

At some stage Jones needs to do something that provides tangible proof that he is the greatest and, speaking at Madison Square Garden - where the UFC hopes to stage Jones v Silva one day, he admits beating Silva might be his ticket to greatness.

"Either I have to beat him, or I don't fight him and I just dominate the 205 division until I break [all] his records," Jones told ESPN.

Jones' immediate target is to equal and then break Tito Ortiz's record of light-heavyweight title defences. The reigning champ has beaten former champions in Lyoto Machida, Rampage Jackson, Rashad Evans and Vitor Belfort, while Ortiz's biggest title defences arguably came against Ken Shamrock and Evan Tanner.

Not that Jones wants to bash Ortiz's record: "I don't want to offend Tito. I think what Tito did in his time was awesome but we're fighting in different generations.

"He can argue that he fought the guys I fought in their primes. But I can argue that I've fought way more bad, tough dudes than he did. There's an argument on both sides.

"He fought in the era of Chuck and Randy, he only knew how to wrestle and box and he made it work. He was a dominator and he was great in his time.

"But to my credit I've fought some bad dudes, back to back to back."

Jones also admitted he would like his next rival - should he overcome Sonnen - to be Alexander Gustafsson.

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