The Hypothetical Corner: Could Jones really defeat Tyson and Ali?

In today’s conference call for UFC 159, Chael Sonnen was rather cordial and quite respectful of his opponent Jon Jones, which is an unexpected change, as it was obvious he had been putting the one man promo machine known as Chael P. Sonnen into fifth gear after the conclusion of TUF 18.

In fact Chael went as far as claiming that Jon Jones is by far the best fighter in the world and from his explanation, the best fighter in combat sports that has ever lived thus far. Chael specifically stated that he believes Jones could not only defeat Anderson Silva with ease, but could also overcome boxing legends Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson on the same night.

Regardless of the literality or seriousness of Chael’s claim or whether he’s just making the task ahead of him seem much larger and monumental than it is, this really got me thinking. I’d like to throw reality aside for the time being and have a little fun with this.

Now before I begin my analysis, let me present you with a disclaimer by stating that this is all completely hypothetical and completely subjective from my end, I’m simply going off of what I’ve seen and the accomplishments of all the individuals involved. I would however genuinely like to know what everyone else has to say regarding this subject, so be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below. Now let’s get to the day Dreaming.

We’ve now entered into the world of science fiction. It’s the year 2149, John Connor and his human resistance has officially won the war against Skynet’s machines and have been celebrating victory for years. But with no enemies left to fight or struggles left to overcome, they’ve grown extremely bored. And so after a night of too many alcoholic drinks, they began to debate about the good old days of combat sports.

John Connor believes MMA legend Jon Jones to be the best combatant who ever lived, his Father Kyle Reese, (who is somehow younger than him) argues it was boxing legend Mike Tyson, while John’s wife and second in command Katherine Brewster claims Muhammad Ali was the very best.

So with little else to do with their time, they program a T101 to go back in time, kidnap each individual fighter in their prime, force them to fight to the death in a back alley and then return back to the future and report the results.

Now that I’ve given a valid explanation as to why these three individuals would be fighting each other, we can now speculate on what exactly would take place and who would hold what specific advantages.


It’s tough to say who the fastest individual would be in this category, but I’d rank Ali above the other two in terms of hand speed and reflexes, while I’d give Tyson next spot and unfortunately Jones last. Although it’s only by default and the fact that Jones style isn’t based on speed but rather being much more methodical than the others.


I don’t even think I have to tell you who the advantage goes to. The way I’ve seen him make a 400lb bag move, it’s very possible that Tyson could have more power than Ali and Jones combined. I give Ali the next spot and Jones last once again.

Strategy/Fight IQ

I’m gonna give this one to Jones based on how adaptive and cerbreal he is against his opponents, he slowly chops them down one swing at a time like a tree, eventually making them tumble and fall. Ali get’s the next spot, he’s been known to bait opponents with his hands down, taunt them into frustration and use his famous rope-a-dope strategy to tire out his heavier opponents and attack when they’ve got no gas left in the tank. There’s no secret as to what Tyson’s strategy was in his prime… Removing your head from your body with his fists.

Grappling/Ground Game

Now I know you’re already rolling your eyes and of course Jones gets the massive football field sized advantage in this department, but I’m less concerned with a boxers grappling skills and more concerned with their ability to throw effective strikes from the bottom. There’s no doubt they’d both get taken down and man handled, but I’m confident both boxers could still generate enough force to strike significantly from the bottom. In this category I’m leaning towards Tyson based on the fact that he can create insane amounts of power with little distance, not to mention he’s smaller stronger and stockier, giving him a lower center of gravity, meaning he’d probably have more success defending the takedown if at all or getting back up to his feet. Ali would likely look confused and embarrased on the ground.


This is gonna be controversial but I’m gonna say Jon Jones based on the fact that he’s been through some adversity, more specifically in the fight with Vitor Belfort he was in a very bad situation but maintained his cool and escaped. He then continued to fight with a semi-injured arm and defeated his opponent with a convincing finish. Next spot I’d give to Ali, seeing as how he to as gone through a bit of adversity on a few occasions throughout his career, Tyson on the other hand is very much a front runner for most of his career and only does well when he isn’t being punched or backed up.

Striking Ability

I give this to Jones for the simple fact that he has eight points of contact to use and make his opponents think about, where as the boxers will only be using two, although those are two VERY skilled, fast and powerful points of contact. I may give Jones the advantage overall but in straight striking talent, I give Ali a very close 2nd, and Tyson an extremely close 3rd. The key thing to think about here is Ali’s ability to pick Jones apart from the outside and get out quickly, and Tyson’s ability to get on the inside and generate ferocious one punch hospital sending power. However both distances are dangerous against Jones as he’ll either kick you from range or throw you like a rag doll from the clinch.


Like St. Pierre and many other champions before him, Jones isn’t the best at any one discipline or skill in specific, but his ability to be dynamic, intelligent and methodical is what I believe would help him prevail over the other two. If you noticed I didn’t count weight as an advantage simply because all three fighters were known to hover around the 215-230 area meaning no one in particular would have any advantages in size, well weight wise anyway, Jones holds the advantage in reach with 84.5 inches, with Ali coming in at a respectable 80 inches and Tyson a short 71 inches.

In all honesty, both boxers could very well defeat Jones via devastating KO and I definitely give them more than a punchers chance, but Jones is smarter than that and would keep his distance or tie them up, and if they don’t land one of those bungalows than there is little reason to believe they could achieve victory, because quite frankly, Jon Jones would have a feel day in the clinch, on the ground and everywhere in between.

Hope you enjoyed that. As I said let me know what you think. Who would win in your opinion or at least fare the best?


  1. Profile photo of ImmaBoss


    April 22, 2013 at 11:33 pm

    Great article definitely something new and fun i haven't seen before but on another note i actually think Tyson would snap Jones in half with one hook lol but on a reality note i give mma fighters the upper hand every time when it comes to mma versus boxing its just to much of a mismatch one specialty versus many(mma)

  2. Profile photo of HunterB


    April 22, 2013 at 11:51 pm


  3. Profile photo of enjoylife321


    April 22, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    In boxing Mike Tyson and ALI would destroy Bones

    In MMA, bones would destroy ALI and Tyson, just like Randy destroyed Toney

  4. Profile photo of Knarcisistik


    April 23, 2013 at 12:49 am

    Even in mma I give Tyson a 1/5 chance in causing Jones to dirty his drawers with one punch… but if Jones grabs him Tyson will look like a 10 year old girl fighting the hulk

  5. Profile photo of Warheadchief


    April 23, 2013 at 1:36 am

    In pure boxing, Jones would lose, definitively. His reach and height would be nullified by the fact he can't kick and his lack of KO power would really put him in the I'm-lanky-only category.

  6. Profile photo of KeithFarrell


    April 23, 2013 at 10:03 am

    In a fight, Jones would beat either of them 99/100 times, no question about it.
    All it takes is a takedown which would be easy even against the powerful Tyson and within 30 seconds Jones would either have broke a limb or choked his opponent unconscious.

    Even in a kickboxing match Jones would have great chances against them, how do you think they would react to a high switch kick? It is most likely going to land each time and Jones has enough speed in his strikes to make a head kick a finish.

    If we are talking about the sport of boxing, which is really a fight with a bunch pointless rules in place, then of course Tyson would wreck him and Ali would pick apart until he crumbles.
    We're not talking about who is the better boxer though, we're talking about the better FIGHTER, and that means the better combat sports athlete regardless or boxing's silly limitations.

  7. Profile photo of KeithFarrell


    April 23, 2013 at 10:16 am

    I think you are giving to much credit to the boxers ability to punch from the bottom, they wouldn't even know what "guard" is and Jones would be in mount as soon as it hits the ground. From there Tyson wouldn't even be able to reach Jon and Jon could pound away without getting touched or just take an arm and break it in any way he likes.

  8. Profile photo of KeithFarrell


    April 23, 2013 at 10:18 am

    I disagree with saying they "could very well" devastatingly KO Jones.

    The proof is in the pudding – Badr Hari, one of the best strikers, not just boxers, fought against an MMA guy and he actually trained to be defending against a grappler yet he still got submitted in less than 30 seconds.
    Why would Tyson or Ali be any different? Especially if they weren't even attempting to prepare to defend against grappling

    • Profile photo of Bryan Fontez

      Bryan Fontez

      April 23, 2013 at 11:20 am

      I don't disagree with you but you're also putting Badr Hari in the same category as Tyson and Ali.

      Tyson and Ali's hands are 10 times better than anyone's hands in K-1 or Muay Thai. Even in Kickboxing I think they'd KO half the guys in K-1. The grappling stuff I agree with but striking?

      Look how many successful kickboxers there are who don't kick or knee very much at all… Mark Hunt, even Overeem didn't kick much in K-1.

      Just something to think about.

  9. Profile photo of Def_tac


    April 23, 2013 at 11:37 am

    This is dumb. You cant compare mma with boxing. I didnt read the article.

    • Profile photo of Bryan Fontez

      Bryan Fontez

      April 23, 2013 at 11:50 am

      Why would you even comment then???… Idiot.

      • Profile photo of Def_tac


        April 23, 2013 at 3:03 pm

        Find something else to write about buddy. Way to be a professional. Low Kick give this sensitive writer a raise. He did an outstanding job. He represents this site very well. The article is amazing.

        Bryan Im not hating bro. take it easy.

        • Profile photo of azzkika


          April 23, 2013 at 3:50 pm

          He can write about this if he chooses. This article hasn't mugged anyone, taxed anyone, stabbed anyone, robbed a bank, or done anything to anyone to cause offense. As you can read from the comments many people find this an enjoyable topic albeit irrelevant to boxing and MMA in essence, with occassional, informative comments making it relevant all the same.

          There's a zillion and one things to be seriously upset about in this life but this article ain't one of them.

          I think a more interesting hypothetical pondeance is if Ali and Tyson had trained MMA instead of boxing would they still have dominated in today's world of MMA and how good would Jones have potentially been if he trained boxing instead of MMA and how he'd have done back then.

  10. Profile photo of Mike Drahota

    Mike Drahota

    April 23, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    Some people, just got nuthin better to do than hate.

  11. Profile photo of Evan Holober

    Evan Holober

    April 23, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    This conversation was solved 100 years ago when black heavyweights like Sam McVea and Sam Langford fought smaller grapplers over seas and lost a majority of the time in "mixed rules fights".

    If the conversation is about greatness, Ali still holds more pull than Jones and probably will no matter what Jon does. Jones might already be better than Mike from a sport vs sport standpoint.

    If the conversation is who would win in a street fight between Jones or the two, its Jones 99.9% of the time. In fact, if the conversation is about Ali or Tyson vs. 90% of the HW or LHW division in the UFC its those divisions 99% of the time.

  12. Profile photo of Ramiro


    April 23, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    I don't agree with that heart/durability goes to Jon Jones!!!!!
    I will further say that's landslide for Ali…
    In no way, shape o form has Jones in his 30 seconds(if it was even that)
    that he has been in trouble in his MMA career even come close to compare the heart and durability that Ali has shown in his classic with Ken Norton(he got his jaw broken .in the second round and fought until the end, can't remember if it was 12 or 15 rnds), Foreman, and of course his wars with Joe Frazier. The third fight, "The Thrilla In Manilla" is a classic and was really brutal fight, which people wanted to use as "proof" of "why"to ban fight sports.
    Jones is great, and as i ithink he is awesome but to claim that Jones has more heart than Ali because that he got out of ONE difficult situation is prepostrous…
    I'm not saying that Jones doesn't have heart, but to be compared to heart of Ali who has been in real wars of attrition, then jones has to prove a little bit more and that might be a problem to do. Because he is so dominant…
    He might have a bigger heart than Ali, but i doubt it. Time will tell.

  13. Profile photo of BjjFan


    April 24, 2013 at 8:10 am

    There isn't even a hypothetical debate to be had here….

    randy couture vs james toney

    there is nothing else to say.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply