RIO DE JANEIRO – There is no debating that Jon Jones is one of the most talented fighters in MMA history. Issues with drug testing, though, have often brought up the question: What does it mean for his legacy?
Jones has discussed this a few times. In an interview with Brazil’s Combate after an atypical test finding that prompted his UFC 232 fight – and the rest of the card – to be moved from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, the UFC’s 205-pound champion said that he’d gotten used to the idea that his legacy would carry “asterisks.”
But there are those who don’t feel that way.
Speaking this week to reporters during a media day to promote his upcoming UFC 237 meeting with Jared Cannonier, former middleweight champion Anderson Silva was asked to weigh in as someone who himself, has dealt with similar situations in his career.
Silva defended both of their legacies.
“I think both Jon Jones and I have been through difficult situations in this sport. And then to return after all the difficult situations that we have lived, it’s more than simply loving what you do,” Silva said in his native Portuguese.”You have to be a very special person. I have a lot of affection for him. Whenever I can, we have conversations. I’m always passing on some of my experience when it comes to living with this world that is MMA, behind the cameras and all. And Jon Jones has everything it takes to create a great history – he already has a great history in this sport.
“There’s no contesting everything he’s already done for this sport. Of course, the things that he ended up doing and that I, too, ended up doing – sometimes due to decisions, sometimes due to issues that we had no control over, you end up paying for it. But we need to think of the good things. There were more good things than there were bad things, so Jon Jones has all my respect, and I’m sure he is the absolute champion of this sport.”
The respect is mutual. Earlier this year, after Silva (34-9 MMA, 17-5 UFC) put on a losing but valiant effort against Israel Adesanya (17-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) at UFC 234, Jones (24-1 MMA, 18-1 UFC) had no shortage of compliments for the former champion and his “beautiful” display against the up-and-comer.
“I’m so proud of Anderson in his last fight,” Jones told MMA Junkie at the time. “He did so well. I am so proud of him. He has nothing to be ashamed about. He went against a young, hungry challenger, and he just proved his greatness. That performance, to me, was nothing short of great.
“To go in a stand-up battle against Israel at Anderson’s age and with the injury he experienced, that just proves his greatness. He’s amazing.”
Things, of course, have since taken an interesting turn between these three players.
After Adesanya went on to beat Kelvin Gastelum and take the UFC’s interim middleweight title last weekend, he and Jones found themselves in a public war of words. On Wednesday, Silva sided with Jones in the beef, saying that Adesanya had crossed a line and had been “disrespectful” toward the light heavyweight champion.
Silva, however, Adesanya had plenty of compliments for Adesanya.
“He’s a talented young athlete,” Silva said. “He has a lot to learn, still, but he has a brilliant future in this sport. (I) root for him to get where he wants. He’s a great athlete, he’s a good kid, and he has all the tools to get there.”
To hear Silva’s chat in English with reporters, check out the video above.
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Anderson Silva defends Jon Jones' legacy: 'More good things than there were bad'