Conor vs Jon

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Conrad M. Cariño

Conrad M. Cariño

No, I am not suggesting a mixed martial arts (MMA) fight between Conor McGregor and Jon Jones unless the Irish fighter decides to climb to light heavyweight and the American didn’t get suspended over his recent failed drug test.

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But it is worth reflecting on the future fortunes of these two very accomplished MMA fighters, since Jones emerged victorious over his archrival Daniel Cormier in UFC 214 and failed a recent drug test, while McGregor lost to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a boxing match.

Let’s start with Jones.

Jones was also regarded as the best in the professional fighting circuit, given that he was undefeated, had freakish proportions for an MMA light heavyweight (205 pounds), and was very skilled. Stopping Cormier, who was never knocked out at heavyweight, also proved that he was truly an outstanding MMA fighter; until news came out that he failed the drug test in relation to UFC 214.

Failing a drug test the second time around and getting suspended for four years is the worst thing that can happen to an outstanding MMA fighter like Jones, because the perception among many fight fans that he is allegedly a “cheater” can never be erased just like that.

And if he fails to fight in four years because of the suspension he has to serve, heaven only knows if he can still be competitive or be rusty if he decides to get back into the ring anew.

Getting into the boxing ring may be suicidal for Jones, because competing at cruiserweight or 200 pounds would mean he has to face undefeated Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk (11-0, 10 KOs) who is one hell of a puncher. Usyk currently holds the World Boxing Organization cruiserweight title.

Then there’s Russia’s Murat Gassiev (24-0, 17 KOs) who is becoming a top contender at cruiserweight.

Venturing into the boxing’s heavyweight division would also be suicidal for Jones, because he has to face the top dogs who stand between 6’5” to 6’7” and weigh between 230 to 260 pounds.

I just hope Jones will never be sweet talked by scheming boxing promoters who will gamble into making him a boxing superstar. Just forget about it!

McGregor actually wanted to become a boxing superstar if he beat Mayweather, but found out that those who excel in the sweet science are different animals.

But who cares if McGregor lost in his lone boxing bout against Mayweather; he even emerged with a more “polished” and admirable image right after losing to Mayweather, because he was very graceful in defeat and showed a lot of heart inside the ring. And he pocketed $100 million in the process!

McGregor also learned more of the sweet science from fighting one of boxing’s best scientists. That is bad news for his future opponents inside the octagon!

McGregor also won the admiration of boxing fans who will want to see him employ the lessons he learned from the sweet science against his future opponents in the octagon. And he can demand huge paydays for this next MMA fights!

Perhaps the Irish fighter’s biggest accomplishment in losing to Mayweather is winning over more boxing fans to MMA.

On the other hand, I cannot help but agree with Cormier’s view that Jones “made a mockery of the sport” by failing another drug test.

For sure, a lot of MMA fighters envy McGregor at this point, and that may include Jones who will likely be relegated to the sidelines watching the Irish hog the limelight in the mixed martial arts circuit and earn megabucks.

The lessons learned from McGregor and Jones are very clear: winning at all cost can result in losing most if not all of what a fighter has worked hard for in many years; and losing in the ring doesn’t necessarily means losing at all if it results in getting a better image before fight fans.

So who said winning is the only thing that matters? The fortunes of Jones and McGregor show otherwise.

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