Funny how putting a straight line in a place where an oval really should be can completely change the dynamic of a discussion.
Technically, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is 15-1 as a professional mixed martial artist. Realistically, he is 16-0.
Yes, Jones "lost" to Matt Hamill at The Ultimate Fighter Finale on Dec. 5, 2009. But it was Hamill who left the cage bloodied and beaten that night. In the midst of Jones raining down elbows and fists to the mounted Hamill, referee Steve Mazzagatti stopped the bout and disqualified Jones for an illegal 12-6 elbow. Yes, Jones threw that elbow. Yes, it came about a half-dozen shots to Hamill's face after when the fight should have been stopped.
And there we have it -- Jon Jones, the undefeated one-loss fighter.
That decision was met with scorn that night in Las Vegas, but looking at it here in 2012, three weeks before Jones defends his belt against Rashad Evans (22-1-1), it makes a huge difference.
Amid all the talk about and between Jones and Evans so far, and the chatter to follow in the days leading up to UFC 145 in Atlanta on April 21, one conversation is not happening. That of Jones being an undefeated fighter.
“I enjoy the fact that conversation is not taking place," Jones told Newsday. "It would be a huge marketing tool for the UFC, but it wouldn’t necessarily be the best for me. You get an undefeated champion, and the commercials could be awesome -- 'This guy, who is 16-0, this phenom.' Sounds great for pay-per-view if you’re thinking about ordering it. But to be the actual guy, to have this whole undefeated, invincible mystique is not what I’m looking for because I know that I’m not invincible.
“I’m really happy that I’m not undefeated. It helps me just focus on the tactics, helps me just focus on continuing to win instead of becoming one of these fighters that focuses on not losing.”