When it comes to MMA, even the best fighters have suffered losses. Just look at Conor McGregor’s loss to Nate Diaz, George St. Pierre’s losses to Matt Serra, and Anderson Silva’s to Chris Weidman. The only fighter that is commonly cited as a contender for the greatest of all time that hasn’t suffered a defeat* is disgraced former UFC Lightheavyweight Champion Jon Jones. * Technically, Jones lost to Matt Hamil via disqualification in 2009 but the point stands.
Having beaten an incredible who’s who of UFC talent, Jones has taken surprisingly little damage. In terms of damage over the course of a full fight Alexander Gustafsson probably dealt the most to the American, but as far as an isolated incident, Jones came close to being finished by Ovince Saint Preux. Jones was initially booked to fight Daniel Cormier at UFC 197 but after Cormier pulled out of the fight with a foot injury Saint Preux was drafted in to face the returning Jones.
Most analysists predicted that Saint Preux would have nothing to offer Jones, who had dominated the now-champion Cormier in his previous fight. But, despite going on to lose a unanimous decision, Saint Preux was as game as they come and turned in a great performance against Jones.
In the second round, Saint Preux landed a 1 2 combination that caught Jones flush on the chin and appeared to have him hurt, but the cerebral Jones used his experience to defend and recover. Despite winning on all three judges scorecards, the performance is generally viewed to be one of Jones’ worst in the Octagon with the American looking sluggish, and without the killer instinct that had otherwise defined his career.
Perhaps not so coincidentally, Jones’ worst performance coincided with his first fight under the stricter performance-enhancing drug testing protocols of USADA. In his only other fight being tested by USADA, in his rematch with Daniel Cormier, Jones failed a test for estrogen blockers and is currently waiting to find out the length of his suspension.