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Watch: Jon Jones Talks McGregor As An Inspiration To Him, But Picks Him To Lose Against The ‘Great’ Mayweather

UFC 214’s Jon Jones spoke to Shannon Sharpe recently about the unavoidable topic that is Mayweather/McGregor and though his respect for his fellow mixed martial artist was clear, his thoughts on the fight itself were definitive.

Jon Jones is a man who may well be facing the biggest challenge of his career when he attempts to take back everything he has lost in recent years by defeating his great rival Daniel Cormier at this weekend’s UFC 214.

Cormier is, of course, the reigning, defending and (pretty much) undisputed 205lb champion of the UFC but for Jones, the legacy that he has watched DC carve out in recent years is still in some doubt due to the fact that he himself became the only man to get the better of him when they first met back at UFC 182. Jones’ problems with the law led to him being stripped of his title in what was a truly shocking moment for the sport but now, with him having spent an extended period of time on the sidelines, he appears to be ready to open a new chapter in his otherwise glistening career.

And though he took some time out of his busy schedule to speak to FOX Sport’s Shannon Sharpe about his own legacy, the hot topic that is boxing’s potentially record-breaking showdown between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor was one that neither Sharpe nor his co-host Skip Bayless could resist asking him about.

Jones, who is widely regarded as the most talented athlete in the history of the sport of mixed martial arts, had clear feelings on the contest itself but at the same time, did little to take away from what Conor McGregor has been able to achieve in such a short time in the public eye.

“I want to start by saying that I really admire Conor McGregor a lot. He’s done so much for our sport and shown me personally that those numbers that he is achieving are possible. So he’s been a huge inspiration to me.”

Jones’ respect for the Irishman was clear from that bit alone but as the show’s host Skip Bayless correctly predicted, a big ‘but’ was to follow.

“But, I’m also a fan of greatness.”

“Floyd Mayweather is unquestionably great. I mean, to go 49-0 is something special. He’s 40 [years of age], but he takes care of himself. He’s an advocate of living a clean life and you would be surprised at what you can get out of yourself, living the life that Floyd does. He has all of the resources to stay healthy and at the top of his game.”

“I think what makes this fight interesting is Conor McGregor’s punching power, but at the same time, guys like Miguel Cotto and [Oscar] De la Hoya, all these guys have tremendous punching power and what they have that McGregor doesn’t is the years of experience and tightness to back up that punching power.”

“I’ve fought so many guys in the UFC who have punching power who were never able to land that shot on me. Like I said, I’m really happy for McGregor to be in that position but if I were a betting man, I’d imagine I’d have to side with the side of greatness.”

Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena

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Author: Cillian Cunningham

Lead mixed martial arts writer who can be contacted at cillian@punditarena.com.