Just who are MMA’s legends? The last 20+ years of combat sports have given fans some amazingly dominant stars to root for. Fighters like Georges St-Pierre, Anderson Silva, Jose Aldo, and Fedor Emelianenko, who dominated their competition for years and years on end.
On the surface, at least, one man surely belongs in that notable company as the greatest light heavyweight talent of all time: former UFC champion Jon Jones.
Currently in a self-imposed hiatus from active competition, Jones ruled over the 205 lb. division from 2011 to 2020—going undefeated in 18 straight bouts and slamming the door on three different generations of title contenders and former champions. Unfortunately, in that time, he also had several run ins with the UFC’s drug testing partners. That included a 2016 failed drug test for clomiphene & letrozole (both often used to prevent side effects from steroid use) and a 2017 USADA violation for trace amounts of the anabolic steroid Turinabol.
It’s for those reasons that upcoming UFC 279 PPV headliner Nate Diaz was adamant in his dismissal of Jones as one of MMA’s all time greats. Diaz recently sat down to talk with ESPN, where he gave his thoughts on the current and former classes of elite MMA talent among other things.
“The OGs ... Anderson [Silva], ‘GSP’ (Georges St-Pierre), Fedor [Emelianenko] ... Who? Jon [Jones]? Out of the question,” Diaz explained (transcript via MMA Fighting). “I don’t care. Silva, too. Like, I mean, with all due respect to them because they are great, but if you do steroids that’s just completely—if you’re caught, you’re a f****** ... you know what I’m saying?
“If you’re doing it out loud, that’s different. They were all shooting steroids then whoop everybody’s ass. It’s like, well, I’m willing to fight [expletive] on steroids. I don’t give a f***. But if you’re doing it [and hiding it], like let’s just all talk about it. You do steroids, I’ll smoke weed then let’s get in there and scrap. I don’t give a f***.
“But you sneak steroids in and you’re considered? Out of the question,” Diaz continued. “That whole legacy is gone and done with. All these guys you consider the GOATs, if you guys are all the GOATs ... I don’t give a f*** because I know arguably I’m in there too with a big portion of people out there in the world. But the way the UFC makes it, it’s all by numbers and s***. You’re not even involved, it’s like yeah, right. [Look at] my 15 years.”
Diaz himself had a brief run in with USADA back in 2019, when the UFC’s drug testing partner flagged him for the the substance Ligandrol—otherwise known as LGD-4033. A selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM)—often used to treat muscular atrophy—the drug has found it’s way into the world of PEDs as well. Diaz was eventually cleared of all wrongdoing after LGD-4033 was found as an unlisted ingredient in a supplement he had been taking at the time.
The longtime Cesar Gracie trained fighter is currently preparing to face Khamzat Chimaev in the UFC 279 main event, for what is generally expected to be his final appearance for the world’s largest MMA promotion. The co-main is set to feature the welterweight debut of former interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson, taking on Li Jingliang. Stay tuned for more news and notes as fight night approaches.