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03rd Mar 2019

Two-point deduction couldn’t get in the way of Jon Jones’ UFC 235 victory

Anthony Smith's honour saved Jon Jones from disqualification

Darragh Murphy

There would have been a sharp intake of breath in Jon Jones’ corner towards the end of the fourth round.

The odds suggested that Jones would have a straightforward defence of his light heavyweight title at UFC 235 and it looked like being just that before ‘Bones’ landed himself in some trouble.

Going into Saturday night’s main event, the only defeat on Jones’ record was due to a disqualification almost a decade ago but he came close to forcing a second loss via DQ with an ill-advised knee to Anthony Smith with just seconds left in the penultimate round.

Smith’s right hand meant that he was a downed opponent when Jones connected with a flush knee to his head and Herb Dean immediately took advantage of his ability to check instant replay.

It would have been easy for Smith to claim that he was unable to continue and leave the T-Mobile Arena with a disqualification win over arguably the greatest of all time but that’s not the kind of man that Smith is as he assured the doctor that he was fine and wanted to continue fighting.

Instead, Jones was deducted two points for the one offence which just goes to show how seriously the referee took the foul and ‘Bones’ was warned going into the final round that any further indiscretions would not be tolerated.

Jones was on his best behaviour for the next five minutes and the judges awarded the New Yorker the win by a scoreline of 48-44, 48-44 and 48-44.

Smith’s performance was praised by Jones in his post-fight interview as he proved himself worthy of his nickname, ‘Lionheart.’

“I said it from the beginning that I wanted to win the title and I know as well as anyone that I could have sat there and taken the DQ win but I wanted to win it, I didn’t want to steal it,” Smith said to the applause of the T-Mobile Arena.

Smith remains one of the toughest fighters on the UFC roster. Jones remains in the GOAT argument. And the light heavyweight title remains in Albuquerque, New Mexico.