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White: Freak of nature Anderson Silva still tops Jones

ESPN staff
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Dana White talks to ESPN

UFC president Dana White has labelled Anderson Silva a "freak of nature" ahead of this weekend's UFC 153 main event, insisting he has set the bar incredibly high for the likes of Jon Jones to aspire.

Silva faces Stephan Bonnar in his native Brazil on Saturday, eyeing his 16th straight UFC victory. He holds endless records with the promotion for his achievements inside the Octagon and is widely regarded as the best mixed martial artist to have graced the planet.

However, the new kid on the block - Jones - is en route to creating his own legacy at light-heavyweight, having already wiped out five former UFC champions. Jones and Silva are often linked to a super-fight, due to the fact they are separated by only 20lbs in weight, and there is a belief held in certain quarters that Jones would come out on top.

Regardless of such views, White remains adamant that Silva is the world's No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter, with Georges St-Pierre No. 2 and Jones No. 3. In White's eyes, Jones has plenty to do if he is to eclipse the standards set by The Spider.

"Jon Jones is getting there. Jon Jones proved a lot to a lot of people against Vitor Belfort, fighting through that armbar, popping out of it like he wasn't even in an armbar, continuing to fight the way he did, he came a long way," White told ESPN.

"The thing is, Anderson Silva has been doing it since 2005 in the UFC, Georges St-Pierre's been doing it forever, Jon Jones has only been on a tear for a year-and-a-half.

"He's had some problems but time will tell. We'll see. At the rate he's going, he's on his way to No. 1 and possibly becoming one of the greatest ever too."

Asked if Jones will one day overshadow Silva, White struggled to commit, pointing out the longevity that Silva has shown by staying at the top.

"He's so young, that's the thing. If Anderson Silva wasn't the freak of nature that he is, still doing what he's doing at 37 years of age... Jon Jones has forever [to usurp him]."

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