Jon Jones admittedly didn’t have his best performance in a win over Ovince Saint Preux at UFC 197.
Considering the legendary fights Jones has had in his career, it’s easy to dismiss a unanimous decision victory against the No. 6-ranked fighter in the light heavyweight division.
But Jones didn’t lose a minute of the fight, taking every round on each of the three judges’ scorecards. The man known as “Bones" landed an astounding 127 significant strikes to only 56 for Saint Preux.
How good is Jones? Even his arch nemesis, Daniel Cormier -- who called the interim title fight on Pay-Per-View alongside Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg -- was impressed. Even though Cormier claimed the version of Jones who won Saturday night couldn’t beat him.
“Because even when you’re not feeling your best, most guys can’t win a fight 50-44,” Cormier said. “Jon still won 50-44 even though he did not have his best performance. I was impressed with him in that sense.”
Jones brought his lunch pail to work and grinded out a win in his first UFC action in 15 months.
More from UFC 197: UFC 197 results | UFC 197 postfight bonus recap | Dana White has final say on UFC 197 | Jon Jones wins in return, claims interim title | Watch: Champion Cormier reacts to Jones win | Mighty Mouse defends his crown | Pettis, Roberts, Esparza go distance for wins | Harris defeats East in explosive FIGHT PASS battle | Watch the UFC 197 FIGHT PASS prelims on-demand | Backstage interviews: Jon Jones, Demetrious Johnson, Edson Barboza, Robert Whittaker, Yair Rodriguez, Sergio Pettis | Octagon interviews: Jon Jones, Demetrious Johnson, Walt Harris | Best images from UFC 197 | Order UFC 197 replay
These are the UFC 197 Talking Points:
Blood still boils between Jones and Cormier
Moments after his win over Saint Preux, Jones made his way out of the Octagon. The new interim 205-pound champ stopped and took a moment to wait for Cormier, who was sitting a few feet away, and to look in his direction.
When Cormier finally did see Jones looking at him, Bones flipped the bird to the champ.
They don’t call it the best rivalry in combat sports for nothing, folks.
“I gave Daniel the finger leaving the Octagon and it felt great,” Jones said. “Me and DC don’t like each other and he’s been in my sights the whole time. It’s back to the beef with DC.”
Jones was cheered in his return after getting his title taken away, and Cormier, the man who stepped up in Jones’s absence to win the vacant title, was booed when his image appeared on the Jumbotron.
Right or wrong, some fans still look at Jones as the true champion of the light heavyweight division.
The only way to settle the debate is when Jones vs. Cormier 2 goes down and it seems like it may not be too far down the road.
Mighty Mouse still can’t be trapped
The return of Jones obviously took center stage at UFC 197, but the real story was the continued supremacy of Demetrious Johnson.
In his eighth consecutive title defense – two shy of Anderson Silva’s all-time mark – Johnson once again showed why he is widely considered to be the best in the business.
Often cast aside because of his size or alleged boring fighting style, Johnson is silencing critics each time he takes to the Octagon.
The TKO finish against Cejudo makes five finishes in his last seven fights. Johnson is dominating the competition in historic fashion. Plus, if you haven’t been paying attention, Johnson is quite the character outside of the Octagon.
A video game fiend who is as witty as he is deadly in a fight (Johnson said this week if fans want drama they should watch “The Bachelor” to see who gets the rose), Mighty Mouse is finally starting to get the shine he’s deserved for a long time.
And the champ is still getting better.
“I don’t believe I’m at my peak yet,” Johnsons said. “I went through a lot of stuff in this camp. I got a root canal; I thought I had a stomach ulcer. But my coaches are always pushing me to be a better martial artist. Just keep chugging along.”
Matt Parrino is a digital producer and writer for UFC.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MattParrinoUFC