April 23rd’s UFC 197 card saw MMA’s top two pound-for-pound fighters, light heavyweight Jon ‘Bones’ Jones and flyweight Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson, both victorious once again. But rather than settle who stands supreme in the P4P rankings, the event only served to fuel the debate.
In the main event, Jones defeated Ovince St Preux via unanimous decision to capture the interim UFC light heavyweight title, while Johnson beat Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo in the co-main via first-round TKO to defend his flyweight title for an eighth straight time.
Since former UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva fell from the top spot back in 2013 after losing the 185lb title to Chris Weidman, it has been Jon Jones who has been considered by most as MMA’s pound-for-pound king. But Johnson has consistently been nipping at his heels, and there have been those who argue the 125lb champ should be sitting above Jones in the P4P rankings. And after the events at UFC 197, there has been substantial weight added to the argument of Mighty Mouse’s supporters.
A Mighty resurgence
Jones, who has been almost entirely spectacular in his dominance at 205lb, may have been dominant once more against OSP but his decision win was much more lackluster than fans are used to seeing from him. On the flip-side, Johnson’s stoppage of Cejudo was beyond impressive. The win even convinced UFC president Dana White that the world’s best flyweight should now also be considered the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter.
“I agree with Joe Rogan (UFC commentator), (Johnson’s) the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world,” Dana said post-UFC 197.
It seems even the fans, the majority of whom previously seemed to be leaning towards Jones, are now taking Johnson’s side in the P4P debate as a Fighters Only Twitter poll shows well over half of voters picking Mighty Mouse.
Bones of contention
However, despite looking relatively unimpressive in his return to MMA after a layoff of around 15 months, Jones is still very much a valid contender for the P4P top spot. Before being stripped of the 205lb title due to legal troubles, Jones took on a murderers’ row in his division, beating Brazilian legend Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua for the belt before successfully defending it eight times against former champs Rashad Evans, Lyoto Machida and Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, among others.
Also, with Jones now scheduled to rematch 205lb champ Daniel Cormier later this year, we could soon see him establish himself as the undisputed pound-for-pound if he can put on a dominant performance over the former Olympian.
Jon admitted his win over OSP wasn’t the most impressive in his post-fight interview, but remains confident he will continue his winning ways: “Sorry, guys, if you weren’t satisfied with that. I definitely gave it my best. Like I said, everything happens for a reason. Maybe I was meant to have a fight before beating DC.”
The pound-for-pound debate in MMA is one of those grey-area arguments that may never truly be settled. Before Johnson and Jones it was Silva and Georges St Pierre. Before Silva and GSP it was Fedor Emelianenko and BJ Penn. And so on. All we can say with any degree of certainty, for now, is that the battle for P4P supremacy rages on between Demetrious Johnson and Jon Jones.