However, if it's starting at the top with the UFC, it won't be long before it's becoming popular opinion and fodder for discussion. It goes back to saying something so many times that people believe it.
The thing is, though, is that it's just plain not true.
Muhammad Ali is a cultural icon, known as much for his religious beliefs, political persecution, inspirational quotes and general ascendance to becoming the voice of a generation as he is for his athletic accomplishments.
Even now, 30 years retired and wracked with medical issues, looking far older than his 70 years, he's an inescapable part of society. His words have been mythologized, his actions the stuff of legend. Truthfully, all that he is, has been, and will be is summarized by the fact that there is only one Ali.
Nobody--absolutely nobody--in his or her right mind can make that claim about Jon Jones.
At best, he's a young champion in a sport with a growing audience. At worst he's an unknown to a mainstream audience that won't ever particularly care what he does or doesn't do.
Muhammad Ali was a 100-5 as an amateur before winning the Olympic Gold Medal as a light heavyweight. After turning pro he became the youngest man ever (at the time) to win the heavyweight championship of the world, which he defended successfully 9 times before being stripped of his title.
This doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of who Ali was as a boxer, much less his status as one of the most iconic figures in 20th century sports, politics, and religion.
stonepony - He is far more dominant in his sport than Ali was in his sport. The politics and nonsense and muslim black-activism is all irrelevant. Vietnam made Ali an icon. JJ is building his legacy inside the cage, not outside the cage.
If you want to compare JJ to a boxer, it has to be Tyson or RJJ. They humiliated their unfortunate opponents.
Ali was the most dominant fighter during the greatest era of HW boxing against all time greats, despite losing almost 4 of the best years of his career. Jones is not as dominant as Ali and wouldn't be anywhere near as dominant as Ali under the same circumstances.
As far as the so called politics and nonsense and muslim black-activism is concerned it's because of this nonsense from people like Ali and other black atheletes who came before him is why Jones can concentrate on building his legacy inside the cage and not outside because they already did all the hard work. Btw Ali's stand on Vietnam didn't make him an icon, his stand on Vietnam is large part of the reason why he spent a large part of his career as one of the most hated men in the history of sports.
FYI Tyson humiliated opponents who didn't fight back and got his ass kicked by everyone did fight back.
I really wish that you all would take Ali of the ignorant pedestal that you have placed him on. He was a great fighter and a great entertainer, but he was not what I would consider a great human being. Not even close. He was basically a talking head for the Nation of Islam, which in fact shared many of the same beliefs with the KKK. Ali himself didn't believe in interracial marriage and shared that view with the N.O.I. He even included it in his own speeches. Ali didn't help his people, he wasn't a man of his people. He was prejudice against people of his same color. He did his best to make black people hate Joe Frazier when in reality it was Joe who represented black people at that time. Joe was a working class man growing up working in the fields. Ali never worked a day in his life. It was because of Ali that Joe Frazier and his family lived with constant death threats. It was Ali who cheated on his wives. Ali who forced his wives to act a certain way, pray a certain way, dress a certain way. You all think he is a great person because he ducked the war? You can spin it any way you want, but Ali did what was best for Ali, and that's it.
Ali's influence and significance to the political and socioeconomic times that he lived in make him far more important that Jones. The sport of MMA has not yet reached the significance necessary for any MMA fighter to be considered as great as Ali.