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Jon Jones: I'll never look at Anderson Silva as a cheater

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

LOS ANGELES -- When Anderson Silva beat Nick Diaz last month at UFC 183, Silva jumped out of the Octagon and greeted Jon Jones in celebration.

Jones, the UFC light heavyweight champion, doesn't think anything differently about his friend now despite Silva's testing positive for steroid metabolites in drug tests before and after the Diaz fight.

Jones said during a fan Q&A session during the UFC's Welcome to the Show press conference at LA Live on Saturday that he doesn't know the whole story about Silva's situation, but he plans on standing behind the UFC legend.

"When you go through a situation like he's gone through, there's a lot of medical people that are gonna advise you to do this or that to heal yourself," Jones said. "I'll never look at Anderson as a cheater. What he's been able to accomplish throughout his career is just unbelievable. He's still a guy I admire and look up to tremendously and I'm pulling for him to just get through all this and continue being the champion that he's been."

Silva, 39, made his comeback from a gruesome broken leg in the fight against Diaz, winning by unanimous decision. The former UFC middleweight champion tested positive for drostanolone and androstane in an out-of-competition test nearly a month before the fight and also popped hot for drostanolone, an anabolic steroid, in the post-fight test.

Silva also tested positive for two benzodiazepine class drugs, oxazepam and temazepam, after the fight. Neither of those are banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, but Silva reportedly did not alert the commission that he took them, so they could add to his discipline.

"The Spider" has been temporarily suspended from competition by the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) and is currently awaiting further penalty at a hearing in March or April. It's likely Silva will be suspended for a year or more and have to pay a substantial fine.

Jones, who defends his title against Anthony Johnson at UFC 187 on May 23 in Las Vegas, doesn't think the positive test was a statement on what Silva has been doing for years to achieve his greatness.

"I've never been a guy to condone steroids," Jones said. "I've had my own personal issues, but I do not condone steroids. I don't really know the whole situation. I don't believe he's been doing it his whole career."

Silva had some sage words for Jones following UFC 183 when the shoe was somewhat on the other foot. Jones tested positive for cocaine metabolites in an out-of-competition test before his fight with Daniel Cormier at UFC 182. Jones admitted to making the mistake and entered himself into a rehab evaluation program when the news was announced.

Jones faced no discipline from the NAC, because cocaine is not a banned substance out of competition.

"Jones is my friend," Silva said. "I talk to Jones all the time. He's young. He has all the problems. All the people hear his problems. There are problems in the world. The people talk (that) this guy is bad. He's not bad. When I talk to Jones, I say, 'Bro, I like you bro. You need to change. All the kids are watching you, the families are watching you. You're the best fighter now. You need to change everything.'"

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