Though Dana White was always quick to laud Jon Jones’ incredible talents, he was hesitant to include him in the pound-for-pound discussion, feeling the 24-year-old needed to expand his body of work some before he would to stack up against the likes of Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva.
Following his four-round trouncing of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson last night at UFC 135, White is willing to give Jones the respect he’s been after.
“When I went into the ring, (Jones) grabbed me and said, ‘Will you give me my pound-for-pound respect now?’ I said, ‘I will shut the hell up now, you did it,'” said White. “The great thing for Jon Jones taking this Rampage fight right now, is how serious Rampage took this fight. He’s been up here in Denver for a long time and you saw him when he got into the Octagon tonight, he was in great shape. His face was lean, he had abs and he came to win this fight. Rampage only cut six pounds for this fight, he cut six pounds the day of the weigh-ins which is incredible. So, that goes to show how serious Rampage took this fight. Let me tell you what: Jon Jones is the man.”
Having beaten a very well-prepared Rampage in the fashion that he did, many are beginning to survey the light heavyweight landscape in search of a worthy contender to the 24-year-old’s throne. The champ is on deck to face former training partner Rashad Evans next and White said that he isn’t too concerned that Bones will run out of legitimate challengers should he make it past that fight, as the division is full of wily competitors waiting in the wings.
“The beauty of the 205lbs. division is it’s stacked,” he said. “There’s a lot of tough guys out there and I’ll tell you what: Rashad just came off an awesome performance against Tito; I mean, he looked really good. Both these guys want this fight, there’s been a lot of smack talkin’ leading in to this fight and then we’ll see what happens with Shogun and Dan Henderson. There’s some talented guys, there’s some fun fights lined up at 205 for Jon.”
UFC 135 went down from the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.