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A Jon Jones win at UFC 232 would be the best and worst thing for MMA

While one of the most gifted athletes in MMA today, Jon Jones’ recent past can harm the UFC and MMA in general.

We are finally here. Just a few days after the mess that was relocating UFC 232, the moment of truth has arrived. Will Jon Jones win back the Light Heavyweight Title he never lost, or will Alexander Gustafsson gain some revenge on the former champion from their epic UFC 165 encounter? At the end of the day, the fight doesn’t really matter. It is the principle of allowing Jones to fight after all that has happened.

“What if Jon Jones wins?” is the biggest question on everyone’s mind. One of the most gifted athletes in MMA history is looking to prove he is the best once again. With controversy hovering over him, however, what would a win mean for him, the UFC and MMA in general?

The Positives…

Right off the bat, we know that Jones (22-1, 1 NC) is one of the greatest MMA fighters in the history of the UFC. A win for him would cement his legacy as a dominant light heavyweight, by winning a title he never truly lost. He would also show that his win over Gustafsson (18-4) wasn’t a fluke.

The world of MMA is known for controversial athletes. Conor McGregor, Chael Sonnen and Tito Ortiz are just a few we could name. Jones may be controversial, but his in-ring work speaks for itself. With nine wins via knockout and six via submission, Jones can do it all. He can talk the talk, but when it comes down to it, he can walk the walk. The antics and hard work has resulted in some of the highest-rated PPV buys in UFC history, which means high revenue counts.

Jones = ratings, there is no denying that. Dana White banks on the 31-year-old and without fail gets something out of it. Jones has proven how great MMA can be, and more eyes tune in because of him.

…Don’t Outweigh the Negatives

A win by Jones would be a win for chaos and disorder.

We talked about how gifted Jones is. If that is the case, we need to talk about how he wastes said gifts. Trouble always seems to find him, and he welcomes it with open arms. Here are just the most recognizable situations he has gotten himself into:

A DUI in 2012, the 2015 hit-and-run (the woman was pregnant), the pre-UFC 200 drug suspension and the 2017 suspension after beating Daniel Cormier for the Light Heavyweight Title. Most recently, a failed drug test (turinabol), reportedly stemming from the 2017 test, was found in his system. Instead of a suspension or canceling the fight, Dana White moved the entire UFC 232 event from Las Vegas to Los Angeles.

When Jones faced Cormier at UFC 214 and beat him, we all predicted it would be a new start for him. Never before has a fighter been given so many chances and wasted them all away. Whether he is truly innocent in this case remains to be seen, but fans and the MMA world are quick to point fingers when something goes wrong with Jones because they are programmed to.

Now, a win could justify the move, but a loss would give this whole ordeal an already bad look for the UFC. Support for the MMA community is sparse, and this past week+ is a painful reminder of why. This is especially true after explanations have been whitewashed and interviews and press conferences have turned into circus shows.

The UFC may be hoping for a Jones win, but is it truly in their best interest? Only time will tell if the failed test was from the past and not from the present, but the damage has already been done. Jones can walk out of UFC 232 as one of the best to play the game, but marred with controversy. He can also walk out empty-handed and embarrassed, something that would symbolically tie this whole situation for everyone involved together.

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Baseball Editor, Misc. Sports Editor. Covers all things combat sports (MMA, Pro Wrestling and Boxing). When he's not writing, Daniel hosts a podcast, The Main Event.
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