There is no doubt at this point that Jon Jones will go down as one of the greatest combat sports performers in history. His only professional MMA loss came back in 2009 on a questionable disqualification in a match he was demonstrably winning, and he has since evolved from a firecracker that couldn't stay out of trouble to a more composed champion today by comparison.
With Johnny Bones looking to cement his legacy further Saturday against undefeated Dominick Reyes in the main event at UFC 247, let's look at the lightweight champ and pound-for-pound king's five most memorable fights from his unforgettable career in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
1. TKO Win Over Vladmir Matyushenko (2010)
This was Jon Jones' announcement to the world that he was a serious threat. Vladmir Matyushenko, a former light heavyweight champion of the International Fight League, was the test to see if the lanky Jones could handle rigors of 205 pounds. He passed with flying colors, dismantling Matyushenko with superior wrestling and grappling in fewer than two minutes, earning a stoppage victory just 1:52 into the first round with brutal elbows.
2. Rematch With Alexander Gustafsson (2018)
Bones was the enemy of the UFC heading in to this fight. He was recently coming off failing yet another drug test after having his belt stripped almost 18 months prior. His reputation allowed him to get an immediate chance to reclaim the title after his reinstatement against a familiar opponent at UFC 232, however, and Jones could not have impressed more. He looked like a man who was fresh and ready to prove a point, and Gustafsson never truly had a chance. The fight was stopped in the third round, and Jones has reigned ever since.
3. Jones vs. DC 1 (2015)
This was one of Jon Jones' most impressive moments in the Octagon. There was very little respect between himself and Daniel Cormier; it was pure animosity, with neither fighter wanting to lose or even give an inch to his opponent. It was going to be a test of Jones' maturity against an opponent who was undefeated heading in to the fight and possessed a wide-ranging set of skills. Jones once again showed why he was the class of the weight division, however, winning by unanimous decision. This fight set off one of the most intense rivalries the UFC has ever seen.
4. Destroying Shogun Rua to Become UFC's Youngest-Ever Champ (2011)
Mauricio "Shogun" Rua was already an established legend in the MMA community before UFC 128. A champion in Pride FC and the UFC besides, the Brazilian icon was meant to destroy a then-23 year-old hotshot in Jones. What happened next remains to this day one of the most brutal beatdowns of an incumbent UFC champion. After Shogun finally succumbed to punches, knees, kicks, elbows, and everything in between in the third round, Jones became the youngest champion in the promotion, a distinction he still holds.
5. Legendary First Fight Against Gustafsson (2013)
This was arguably the most threatened Jon Jones has ever been in a fight in his storied career. Gustafsson came at the champion with everything he had, and Jones was stunned a couple times in this battle. By the end of the fight, no one was quite sure who had won, and there were genuine concerns that Jon Jones' reign at the top may be over. The fight ended in a unanimous decision for Jon Jones, and that brawl is still an all-time favorite fight for fans. Both fighters ended up in the hospital after the bout, and both spoke effusively about the test they put one other through. UFC 165 truly ended with a breathtaking main event.