UFC star Conor McGregor tweeted Tuesday that he has retired. Whether that’s true – and whether it remains true – has been a hot topic of debate.
“I really don’t know what he’s going to do,” UFC light heavyweight contender Jon Jones told Damon Amendolara and Jason La Canfora, who were filling in as hosts of CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I really don’t know what he’s going to do. But whatever he does, I’ll respect it.”
McGregor was supposed to fight Nate Diaz at UFC 200 in July, but was pulled from the card following his tweet.
Jones, meanwhile, will face Ovince Saint Preux (19-7) at UFC 197 this Saturday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. It will be Jones’ first fight since January 2015, when he beat Daniel Cormier in a unanimous decision.
Jones, the former light heavyweight champion, was stripped of his title and suspended indefinitely last year following a series of legal issues. While Jones was out of action, McGregor rose to fame, becoming the top draw in the sport.
Jones said he never felt resentment or jealousy toward the Dublin native for his meteoric rise.
“I believe that there’s enough space in the sky for many stars,” Jones said. “I don’t think me wishing bad on his star, I don’t think that will make my star climb any higher. Me and Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey and Cain Velasquez, all these big names in the sport – we’re all great in different ways. Conor McGregor has the most amazing personality and he’s drawn a lot of great new fans to the sport, so I appreciate his space in the sport. I think that being said, another reason why I don’t really compare myself to a lot of these fighters is because of my resume. Right now, on pretty much every ranking board across the sport, I’m ranked No. 1 pound-for-pound – and it’s because of the level of competition I’ve beaten. No one in the sport’s history has beaten the level of competent that I’ve beaten.
Jones (21-1) has beaten Ryan Bader, Rashad Evans, Vitor Belfort, Alexander Gustafsson and Cormier, among others.
“I’ve beaten maybe seven former world champions,” Jones said. “I don’t think anyone’s ever come close to that. I think Anderson Silva’s maybe beaten three or four world champions, but on paper, my resume speaks for itself, so it allows me to not compare myself because of what I’m doing.”
Jones is eager to face Saint Preux, who has won eight of his last 10 fights.
“I’ve been off for a year-and-a-half, and in sports, it’s kind of like, ‘Out of sight, out of mind,’” Jones said. “I’m just really excited to go out there and just show the world my gifts and put on an outstanding performance for everybody.”