MMA Mathematics: Where Does Jon Jones Sit In the GOAT Debate?

Way back when I first started writing MMA, I joined the MMA Sucka team for a good while. One of my pieces with the website was a mathematical breakdown of Demetrius Johnson and Anderson Silva. I compared their title reigns and saw who truly had the better resume. I surmised that while Anderson Silva had a lower combined record of victory than Mighty Mouse, he did more outside of his division and was still the GOAT. While it wasn’t titled “MMA Mathematics,” it was the spiritual successor to the series and the beginning of MMA Mathematics. Now that Jon Jones has another title defense under his belt, I thought I’d brush off the ole GOAT debate and see where Jon Jones sits on the GOAT debate.

Read the first ever MMA Mathematics on MMA Sucka here!

Reviewing Anderson Silva

Anderson Silva’s resume has not changed since writing the original post. His title reign was far from over and Silva has lost several fights since then. Regardless, his legacy remains. So, first, let’s recap Silva.

Anderson Silva title matches: Rich Franklin (22–1), Nate Marquardt (25–6–2), Dan Henderson (22–6), Patrick Côté (13–4), Thales Leites (14–1), Demian Maia (12–2), Chael Sonnen 1 (26–10–1), Vitor Belfort (19–9), Yushin Okami (26–5), and Chael Sonnen again (28–11–1)

That puts Anderson Silva’s combined opposition record of 207-40-4. That’s a win percentage of 82.47%.

From the MMA Sucka article:

Anderson Silva also had significant work outside of his home division. He notched wins over Travis LutterJames IrvinForrest Griffin, and Stephan Bonner at light heavyweight. Silva had a mind blowing 16 fight win streak in his title reign, solidifying his greatness.

Reviewing and Updating Demetrious Johnson

Demetrious Johnson had just come off of a win over Ray Borg, beating Silva’s title defense record. It would be the end of Johnson’s title reign, having lost a split decision to Henry Cejudo. He was a part of the historic trade with ONE Championship that saw him traded for Ben Askren. Since then, Johnson has fought in ONE’s flyweight grand prix, winning the vacant belt. We will add the final fight to Mighty Mouse’s resume for argument’s sake.

Demetrious Johnson title matches: Joseph Benavidez (16–3), John Dodson 1 (14–6), John Moraga (13–2), Joseph Benavidez again (19–4), Ali Bagautinov (13–2), Chris Cariaso (17–5), Kyoji Horiguchi (15–1), John Dodson 2 (17–7), Henry Cejudo (10–0), Tim Elliott (13–6–1), Wilson Reis (22–6), and Ray Borg (11–2).

Adding his ONE Championship fight for the vacant title, Danny Kingad was 13-1. That brings Johnson’s combined opposition record to 193-45-1. His win percentage comes in at 80.75%, now lower than Anderson Silva.

Johnson also had some things go his way that were out of his control. Kyoji Horiguchi won the RIZIN title and that should be counted for something. While Johnson’s added a second promotion’s belt, which we’ve seen should be considered as valuable as the UFC, he still sits behind Silva in the GOAT debat.

Enter: Jon Jones

It is time to enter Jon Jones into this conversation. With his win over Dominick Reyes, Jon Jones has tied Georges St-Pierre for title defenses. Jones has been one of the most dominant champions in UFC history. How does he stack up, though?

First thing’s first, we have to see where Jones sits with combined opposition record.

Jon Jones title matches: Shogun Rua (19-4), Rampage Jackson (32-8), Loyoto Machida (17-2), Rashad Evans (17-1-1), Vitor Belfort (21-9), Chael Sonnen (27-12-1), Alexander Gustafsson (15-1), Glover Teixeira (22-2), Daniel Cormier (15-0), Ovince St. Preaux (19-7)*, Alexander Gustafsson (18-4), Anthony Smith (32-13), Thiago Santos (21-6), Dominick Reyes (12-0)

*Ovince St. Preaux was for the interim title, counts same as Johnson’s title fight with Kingad in ONE Championship.

The moment of truth is here. What is Jones combined opposition record and win percentage? The record is 287-69-2. That is exactly an 80.17% winning percentage. That puts Jon Jones in third place between him, Johnson, and Silva.

One other thing Jones has going against him is he’s never gone outside of his division. He’s stayed firmly at light heavyweight and is in the process of cleaning out his third generation of contenders. There’s been flirtation of Jon Jones going up to heavyweight. If Jones was to move up to heavyweight and dethrone Stipe Miocic, who has a 19-3 record, his combined record would move to 306-72-2, a win percentage of 80.53%. While that would be slightly behind Johnson, it would give him something that neither Silva and Johnson has done: win a second belt.

While Jones has had the longevity of Silva and Mighty Mouse, his level of competition is lower than all three. He does have the most combined experience, with over 335 combined fights by his opponents. But that isn’t enough to put him over the top in the GOAT debate.

To solidify himself as the greatest of all time, Jon Jones would have to simply defeat Stipe Miocic and claim his second belt.

Final GOAT Rankings

Anderson Silva: 207-40-4 (82.47%)
Demetrius Johnson: 193-45-1 (80.75%)
Jon Jones: 287-69-2 (80.17%)

The Future of the GOAT Date

I originally intended to continue this debate with more fighters, Jones included. I got lost in the shuffle of writing all kinds of other fun stuff. But, writing this reminded me and gave me the itch of figuring out who the best ever is. Next, I will be doing a MMA Mathematics on Georges St-Pierre to see where he falls in the debate. Other names I intend to break down is Jose Aldo, Conor McGregor, and Amanda Nunes. Be looking for GSP next month!

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