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Thursday, December 6, 2012
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By Alyssa Roenigk
ESPN The Magazine

Jon Jones
Jones is 17-1-0 in his four-year career. His one loss came in 2009.

This story appears in ESPN The Magazine's Dec. 10 Interview issue. Subscribe today!


In 2012, the 25-year-old Jon Jones defended his title twice (including a rout of former close friend Rashad Evans) and celebrated as little brother Chandler, the Patriots' first-round pick, joined big brother Arthur, a Ravens defensive lineman, in the NFL. But Jones also pleaded guilty to a DWI charge; declined a last-minute fight with Chael Sonnen, which forced the first pay-per-view cancellation in UFC history; and feuded publicly with his boss, Dana White. The controversy filled up the webosphere. We grabbed a few of the more forthright message-board posts and asked Bones to speak directly to both his fans and his naysayers. His response? Bring it.


Posted by Ryan Duds on BleacherReport.com: Jones isn't the sole blame behind the cancellation [of UFC 151] but I think he deserves 60 percent of it. He acts like he's bigger than the company that made him who he is.
JON JONES: Because taking last-minute fights is a matter of health, I would [decline] again. There are certain rights set up for fighters, set up by the organization to do what's right for your own longevity in the sport of MMA. I'm actually proud that I was one of the first guys to exercise that right on such a big scale, because it takes pressure off fighters in the future. Now, as you're seeing, guys are turning down fights left and right.

It may have been a curveball to a lot of outside viewers to see Dana White bash one of the faces of his sport, but I honestly believe it's given me and Dana a better understanding of each other. We had a great meeting recently. It was the first time I spoke to Dana not as a boss. I spoke to him as a man about how I felt, and I think he really saw eye to eye with me. I respect him.

Posted by TheChrish on MmaMania.com: Rashad and Jonny boy never really reconciled ... and never will.
JONES: I have no intention of ever rekindling a relationship with Rashad. After all we've gone through, you can't undo what's been done. We have no reason to reconnect. Rashad is conniving and manipulative.

Posted by mcspinelli on ESPN.com: Most parents that produce one star athlete have reason to brag, but three? Damn, that's impressive.
JONES: To see my little brother Chandler outdoing me, it's great; I want to be able to cross-market and feed off his star power. And when Arthur's done playing football, he would be a great MMA heavyweight. He has a knack for combat and had better wrestling credentials than me. It wouldn't be long until he became one of the better [fighters] in the world.

Posted by cyke on MmaMania.com: He's insincere. Claims that he's humble but acts differently than that.
JONES: For a long time, I consciously tried to be a good person for others. Not anymore. Caring about other people keeps me in line, but I've decided to just be myself. The DWI set me free. For all the people who held me to that standard, it took that weight off my shoulders, and I felt freed by it. At the end of the day, people can respect a good comeback story too. I'll be a better man because of that situation.

Posted by just me on BleacherReport.com: Right now Jon Jones is the best fighter in the world. Just the way LeBron James is the best right now in NBA. Jones will remain the best fighter in the world while Anderson Silva will retire as the G.O.A.T. due to his previous achievement.
JONES: I wouldn't argue that Anderson Silva is the best pound-for-pound fighter in MMA. I would say he's the best fighter right now and the greatest ever. But I believe that I have the time to achieve all types of greatness. I know for a fact that when Anderson was 25, he wasn't fighting the level of competition that I'm going against. He wasn't achieving the things that I'm achieving. When I'm 28, I'm pretty confident it will be unquestionable that I'm the greatest fighter ever. Dana talks about Silva and me fighting someday, but that's far from definite. In 2013, I plan to defeat Chael Sonnen and Dan Henderson. That's as far as it goes right now. People talk about me going up to heavyweight too, but if it's not broke, don't fix it.

Posted by BlackHelwani on MmaFighting.com: We knew he had skills, then we found out he could take a punch. Vitor Belfort gave Jones every reason to quit, & as strong as that armbar was, the champ never gave up.
JONES: That was the most pain I've been in ever in my life -- by far. It didn't last very long, but it was intense -- this one big gush of pain. I remember thinking between rounds, I just got hurt, and I can still move my arm. As soon as I got back to my corner, I remember having my coach tell me, "Hey, you feel no pain. We're gonna hit him with that arm. We're gonna persevere." It was an honor, a blessing for me to finally get some havoc in there. It made me feel more alive, as if all that focus I put into being strong, I felt as if I actually got to use it. That definitely makes the win sweeter.

Posted by Robert C on yahoo.com: It sounds good for Jones to say that [he is against fighters taking testosterone replacement therapy, which is currently allowed by many state athletic commissions] & but how will it sound when he is 30-something and announces he's on TRT. Rampage was against it too, now he's on it. It's easy to say you won't do something when there is no need for you to.
JONES: I'm a guy who believes you gotta execute when it's your time. Right now, it's my time. These guys had their time. It's not fair to relive your time through a chemical. If Chael wanted to be a magnificent fighter at 25, he could have done so, if he dedicated himself. So now he can't just play catch-up with a pill. I decided to sacrifice myself to this sport at age 25, and I'm reaping the benefits of being Jon Jones. So how does someone get to decide that maybe they're not going to fully commit to being the best, and then they get to reap the benefits? It's just not fair. You had your time. Now, unfortunately, you're old. It's time for someone else to have their time.

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