Over the weekend Jon Jones fought Daniel Cormier at UFC 182 going all five rounds and seemingly showing the best Jon Jones we have ever seen. Jon Jones came out of that fight as the best fighter in modern MMA and perhaps all time.
This afternoon the news broke quietly to start and quickly crescendoed into a tidal wave of bad news for both Jon Jones and the UFC. On Dec 4th Jon tested positive for cocaine metabolites in what is called an out-of-competition test, meaning that if that test had show anything that enhances his performance he would have been fined, suspended, and the result of the fight could have been changed in light of the information. In this case, a drug that is illegal everywhere isn't against the rules for this sort of test. So Jon checks himself into a rehab facility and apologizes to all the necessary parties and we wait. Why? Well, because Jon is the champ he and DC were was also tested after the fight and if that one comes back with cocaine metabolites in it, there is a much different conversation to have.
Instead focusing on that, I would like to end the conversation about the best of all time - for me this is an all encompassing title, one that reflects excellence both in the ring and outside the ring. This doesn't have to be your definition, but as a martial artists I feel that the greatest of all time should reflect a holistic view of the world and their place in it, not just a momentary performance with a monetary gain. Jon is on a 12 fight winning streak, has defended his belt 8 times, and put on the best performance of his career Saturday and as of this writing sits a top the UFC's pound-for-pound best list.
He sits there, in my opinion, for one reason, Georges is gone.
With Anderson's streak broken by Chris Weidman the argument about the "Greatest of All Time" is a simple one. Georges St. Pierre is the greatest fighter to fight inside the Octagon. Jon Jones, Anderson Silva, Fedor, and GSP will be talked about forever as the greatest four fighters in the sport, but two of those men stand out as special - Jon and Georges. Both men are incredible athletes with the edge going to Jones in that category, both have been in wars (Jon hasn't had a finish since April of 2013), but only one for me has put it together in the Octagon and outside of it and that is GSP.
Jon has a tough road ahead of him as addiction is nothing to laugh at and certainly nothing to celebrate and at the end of the day I hope he returns better than ever because redemption is a powerful healer and while we are talking redemption, there is no better time for GSP to make that rumored return. Right now the sport and the fans need GSP, maybe more than ever.
Georges stepped away for a lot of reasons, some of which have not been solved yet but there is no doubt in my mind that even if he doesn't return - there might not ever be another MMA fighter to do what he did with the level of class he was able to do it with. So while most of the world is either attacking or defending Jones (both of which seem very premature at this point) I wanted to talk GSP tonight because the events of today show how hard it is to keep it together in this sport and how special it is when you can.
Best of luck Jon Jones.
Come back soon GSP.