Anderson Silva has spoken out in defence of his friend and fellow legend Jon Jones, who has experienced the glare of the spotlight more than most in recent years.
Jones has been making every effort to stay active in recent times – fighting twice in the last four months, defeating both Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Smith in a pair of thoroughly dominant performances.
It’s clear that Jon is looking to move on from his rocky patch in recent years and in a brief moment during an interview he did, the legendary former middleweight champion Anderson Silva paid tribute to his friend and the road he has travelled.
Speaking in a recent interview with MMAJunkie, Silva highlighted the parallels that continue to exist between himself and the youngest champion the promotion has ever seen.
“I think both Jon Jones and I have been through difficult situations in this sport. And then to return after all the difficult situations that we have lived, it’s more than simply loving what you do.
“You have to be a very special person. I have a lot of affection for him. Whenever I can, we have conversations. I’m always passing on some of my experience when it comes to living with this world that is MMA, behind the cameras and all. And Jon Jones has everything it takes to create a great history – he already has a great history in this sport.
Many of Jones’ achievements fell into doubt in the eyes of some after a string of high-profile run-ins with the anti-doping agency USADA – something that Silva himself has his own recent experience with.
But in continuing on from there, Anderson explained how his respect for Bones is set in stone – calling him ‘the absolute champion of this sport’.
“There’s no contesting everything he’s already done for this sport. Of course, the things that he ended up doing and that I, too, ended up doing – sometimes due to decisions, sometimes due to issues that we had no control over, you end up paying for it.
“But we need to think of the good things. There were more good things than there were bad things, so Jon Jones has all my respect, and I’m sure he is the absolute champion of this sport.”
There was a time in the past, where there the idea of super-fight between Silva and Jones was in play.
Both were in command of two of the most prestigious divisions in the UFC at the same time and while a showdown between the two would have no doubt been an incredible spectacle – each man played down the connection due to their friendship.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena