RIO DE JANEIRO — Anderson Silva and Jon Jones have many things in common. “The Spider” was one of the most dominant fighters in his era, and “Bones” still reigns among the light heavyweights. The duo broke records as champions, were big draws in the sport, but have also failed drug tests in the UFC.
Silva popped for multiple banned substances and had a win over Nick Diaz overturned to a no-contest. Years later, he tested positive a second time but managed to prove that a tainted supplement was the source of the substance.
Jones was stripped of the UFC title twice for testing positive for banned substances, and still to this day has to deal with a confusing metabolite case after regaining the UFC crown.
“The Spider” is slated to face Jared Cannonier at UFC 237 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on May 11. Jones returns weeks later in Las Vegas, putting the 205-pound title on the line against Thiago Santos at UFC 239 on July 6.
For the Brazilian star, everything that happened in the past does not represent an asterisk to both of their legacies in the sport.
”I don’t think so,” Silva said in a recent media day in Brazil. “Jon Jones and I went through difficult situations in this sport, and coming back from all those situations we lived is more than just loving what you (do), you have to be a really special person.
”I like him a lot, we always chat. I’m always giving him some of my experience about living in the fight world, behind the cameras and all that, and Jon Jones has everything to create a big history.”
Silva and Jones are seen by many as two of the greatest fighters to ever compete in mixed martial arts despite their past issues, and the middleweight star sees Jones as “the absolute champion” when it’s all set and done.
”He already has a big history in this sport and everything he has done for the sport is unquestionable,” Silva said. “Of course that the things he ended up doing, that even I ended up doing, for decisions, sometimes flaws that we had no control, you end up paying the price for that. But we have to think about the good things. There were more good things than bad things. Jon Jones has my utmost respect and I’m sure he’s the absolute champion of this sport.”
Speaking in a separate media scrum in English, Silva spoke about Israel Adesanya's recent comments about Jones, his upcoming fight with Cannonier, and more.