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Dana White in awe of Jon Jones performance at UFC 285: He treated Ciryl Gane ‘like he was a little kid’

Dana White has seen Jon Jones at his very best, but even he struggled to find the words to describe the MMA legend’s latest feat.

Jones returned to the cage in top form Saturday at UFC 285 in Las Vegas where he fought Ciryl Gane for a vacant heavyweight title. In short time, Jones took Gane to the mat before eventually submitting him a couple of minutes into Round 1.

It was Jones’ first fight in three years and he didn’t miss a beat. Along with his previous unmatched accomplishments in the light heavyweight division, White believes there’s no more debate about who the greatest fighter of all time is.

“Holy s***,” White said at the evening’s post-fight press conference. “Listen, anybody denies that this guy is the GOAT anymore, I don’t think anybody would deny it. Not only is he the greatest light heavyweight ever, he looks like the greatest heavyweight ever too.

“I mean, there were a couple of interviews leading up to this fight where he was saying, ‘I’m going to make this look easy’ and I thought that was a silly thing to say. It’s un-f******-believable, he really is.”

Jones’ hiatus from competition was motivated primarily by the former light heavyweight champion wanting to take the time to properly transition to the heavyweight division. However, during his time away, Jones also lost time due to a public contract dispute with the UFC as well as various legal problems, including an arrest for domestic violence in Las Vegas that occurred the night that he was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in September 2021.

White hesitated to comment on whether Jones can be expected to stay on the straight and narrow going forward, instead focusing on how impressed he was by Jones picking up right where he left off in the octagon.

“Let’s just put it this way: There’s no doubt that Jon Jones is special,” White said. “He’s the greatest of all time. He’s undefeated, he’s never lost a fight ever in the UFC, he’s fought all the best competition out there, but dealing with him is like dealing with an artist is the best way to explain it. I don’t know what’s going to happen from here on out. I’m just happy we got to see what we saw tonight.

“And many of us that have been in the game for a long time, some of you might disagree, some of you might agree, I’m a big believer in ring rust and what it does. We didn’t even get to see any ring rust. Who knows if there was any ring rust tonight. He just went in there and literally made it look like nothing, like it was the easiest thing in the world for him to do. He’s a total freak of nature and he’s the best ever.”

The flip-side to Jones’ one-sided win was former interim heavyweight champion Ciryl Gane suffering the worst loss of his career. Rather than criticize Gane, White focused on Jones’ performance and how he feels that Jones is simply in another class from his peers.

“The Francis fight if [Gane] doesn’t go for the heel hook, he wins that fight,” White said. “He made one silly mistake out of the five rounds. Tonight, to even compare Francis Ngannou or Ciryl Gane to Jon Jones, you can’t. You can’t even compare them to this guy.

“He went in there and finished—I still can’t f****** believe what I saw. How easy and how fast and how simple he made that look, it’s still blowing my mind. So it’s hard to even talk about him and any other heavyweights.”

“Even if you look at him tonight, he’s had three years to put on the weight,” White later added. “A lot of people were saying, ‘I don’t know, he looks soft,’ what if this and that and blah blah blah. Ciryl Gane is a monster in great physical shape and everything else. Jon Jones went in there and just treated him like he was a little kid. So I think he is the level. I don’t know if there’s any other level higher than Jon Jones.”

If Jones is to put together another legendary run in another division, he has no shortage of challengers. Two-time UFC champion Stipe Miocic appears to have first dibs as both he and White mentioned earlier this week that the plan was for Miocic to challenge the UFC 285 main event winner.

Miocic said the UFC had already told him he’d likely fight for the title in July during the UFC’s International Fight Week. White confirmed that Miocic is next, but couldn’t confirm the date.

“I don’t know when, but he’s definitely fighting Stipe,” White said.

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