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In his Own Words - Jon Jones

“I think being remembered for standing for something is a lot more important than just for a cool move that you did." - Jon Jones


“I definitely wasn’t nervous. The only time I had the jitters was backstage. I couldn’t really get a warmup like I wanted to. Usually I’m screaming backstage, I’ve got a crazy sweat going, I’m pumped up, I’m amped up, (Laughs) and now I’m sharing a locker room with guys like Matt Serra and the Gracies and so many big stars, guys that I looked up to, and I kinda felt out of my zone and I wasn’t really able to warm up like I was used to. I was trying to stay low-key and composed. But once I hit the arena and they locked that gate, there were no jitters. Gusmao was my first fight that went the distance. He definitely had a chin on him and he wasn’t going down, but I don’t believe in standing around and waiting. I think when you step into the cage, you’ve got to take the cage and make it your zone.”


“I think fighting Stephan Bonnar is a win-win situation for me. I’m a young fighter and everyone knows that I’ve only been fighting for one year. It was just one year ago that I didn’t know how to throw a proper kick and no clue how to throw a punch, and now I’m fighting one of the bigger names in the sport. I really have nothing to lose in this situation – I feel ultra-confident and I’m really hungry. I’m on fire, and I plan on shocking the UFC organization and letting those guys know that I’m ready to be here for a long time.”


“All the crazy spinning back fists and back kicks, spinning elbows and all that crazy stuff that I do while competing have strictly come from moves that I’ve seen on youtube. It’s been working for me and I guess it’s what’s separated me from the rest of my teammates. Those guys never know what to expect when they see me fighting. The move where you drop down, touch the leg and try to do a spinning back elbow, I actually learned that from a (action movie star) Tony Jaa youtube video. I said ‘That looks like it could work, and I just went for it.’”


“People say I’m the future of the sport and the next champion, and I never asked for any of that stuff. But people are saying it for a reason, I guess, and it motivates me to work harder and live up to those expectations. Those are big expectations. I’m only 22 and I haven’t even been training for three years, and to get that type of recognition definitely adds a lot of pressure. I just try to train hard and do that extra pushup or go train one more time when I have no strength left, and hopefully I can make myself happy and provide for my family. Ultimately that’s the only reason I’m doing this.”


 “I literally get my butt kicked every single day, which is new for me. I come from a school where I wouldn’t even get hit. I would never get a black eye, a bruise, a bump, or a nick, and now, I’m icing every night because these guys are kicking the snot out of me. I’m getting tapped out, taken down, punched in the face, and it’s just a reality check. There’s so much work to be done. In a sport like mixed martial arts, a real black belt doesn’t think he knows everything; he pays attention to how much he doesn’t know. I’m really not anything. I’m a young guy who’s had some impressive fights, and when it comes to proving myself, I really haven’t done anything. There’s a lot more talent out there besides me, a lot of other guys that are looking great, way more well-rounded, and until I get to that level where you can find no holes or weaknesses in my game, I’m gonna continue to be a grinder and continue to work hard, improve, and keep my head on straight. I’m not resting until I’m officially Anderson Silva status.”


“Outside of the Octagon I’m a pretty relaxed and mellow guy and I’m pretty level-headed. So once the fight was over and the decision was made, I wasn’t gonna cry over spilled milk. There was nothing I could do about it, so I took it in stride. Things happen for a reason and I just continued to move forward and continued to work on my game. I’m not worried about a win or a loss. I think all this stuff is just experience, and ultimately I’m looking at the big picture, so you’re gonna have to take your bumps, keep on moving forward, and worry about that big picture.”

“It was just the way I was brought up. My wrestling coach in high school, Mr. Jack Stanbro, he always taught us to act with class no matter what happens. I’ve taken losses before in my wrestling career, and he was the type of coach where every time we showed up at a meet we had to dress up in a suit and a tie and if we lost he would never want to see bad sportsmanship shown. It’s who I am, it’s embedded deep within me, and it’s what I’ve been raised around.”


“I got a lot of mail from parents, and even today, a lot of people say ‘the reason I became a Jon Jones fan is because I saw the way you handled that fight and the way you conducted yourself after the fight. In every way, shape, and form, it was a blessing in disguise. I don’t want to be that perfect fighter because I’m not perfect at all. It’s good for me to have a blemish in my career because it shows that I can make mistakes. There’s a kid out there who’s looking at us fighters as being perfect people, like their perfect super hero, and it’s good for me to show that I can make mistakes and still bounce back.”


“Guys who study my fights, I try to give them an evolution, and they’ll see a totally different style in every fight. So it’s kinda hard right now to predict what I’ll do in my next fight because every fight is very different and I’ll come back a completely different fighter for a completely different opponent.”


“Everything is exactly the same to be honest with you. I try to keep myself grounded and keep myself around the same friends, and life is the same, it really is. There’s a little bit more publicity, but that’s something I expected when I got into the sport and my goal is to make it towards the top, so I realized that being towards the top more of it’s gonna come, so I try to just appreciate it, realize that it’s God’s blessing, and just keep it moving and keep things the same.”

MMA’S ALI? (2011)

“Hearing things like that just motivate me to do better in interviews, in training, with the fans, and do everything to make things like that accurate. It’s just motivation and I’m honored that he (Bruce Buffer) gave me that kind of compliment because that’s what I’m looking for – I’m looking to be remembered and I’m looking to be great at something. Compliments like that reassure me that my hard work is paying off and that people are noticing, so I tell myself don’t worry, just keep working.”


“I think being remembered for standing for something is a lot more important than just for a cool move that you did. Right now I’m standing up for Christ, and if I find something that I’m passionate about as I learn more about myself and the world, I definitely want to step up and help. Being great is one thing, but being remembered is another thing. To be great, magnificent and remembered, you have to stand for something and change the world in a way. I want to change the world. Ali stood up for the Muslims and for not going to war and he made an impact. People don’t remember Bruce Lee as “that Asian guy.” No one cares that Bruce Lee was Asian, they love him all over the world, and I want to have that same impact. I don’t want me being African-American to ever play a difference in anyone’s mind. I don’t want anyone saying ‘I like that black fighter.’ I want people to love me because of me. I’d rather be known as that Christian fighter or that peaceful fighter or that fighter that’s spreading positivity and kindness and confidence and way more than tactics. It’s important.”


“My answer to that is that I’ve earned the privilege of not showing that to anyone. For everyone who says I’ve never been hit and is wondering how I’ll react to it, the reason why I haven’t been hit is because I’m literally obsessed with what I’m doing and I’m in the gym every day, three times a day, six hours a day. And when you dedicate your life to it, hopefully you guys will never see me do the chicken dance. That’s the way it works. But for people who are wondering how I’ll react, I’ve been hit several times throughout practice and I react just fine. I’ve been dazed in wrestling – I remember a few times in high school I would throw people and land on my own head and almost knock myself out, but I kept wrestling through it. So I’ve seen those white flashes before and I’ve always fought through it. If it happens in this fight, I’m definitely prepared to fight through it and I know I can fight through it.”

ON “THE COOL” (2011)

“I think it came from my father. I grew up in the church, and my dad would call me up on Sundays to sing in front of complete strangers. And there’s something about singing that leaves you very vulnerable. Singing is such a pure thing – it’s your inner emotion, your feelings, coming out in your voice - and after you’re done, people can judge you in any way possible. I had to sing as a 12 year old boy going through adolescence, my voice was changing, I would squeak a lot, and I’m not the best singer, but the fact that my father forced me to leave myself so vulnerable at such a young age, now that I’m older and I’m just speaking and fighting, I just got used to putting myself out there. Subconsciously it taught me to be myself and speak my mind and not be afraid of a crowd.”


“I feel as if I have an obligation to do the right thing. I knew my coaches were with me, and I’m surprised that I got so many accolades for doing it, but when you say that 90 percent of the people wouldn’t do it, I just hope that’s not true. And a big part of me feels that I did what most people would have done. I’m from the ghetto in Rochester, and there were times when I wouldn’t protect myself that I regret because I didn’t know how to protect myself at the time,” he said. “I’ve been jumped before and beat up before and it’s kinda like how Mike Tyson said in his documentary, he never wanted to be taken advantage of again once he learned how to fight. I feel the same way. I got jumped when I was a kid, I got beat up, I got made fun of because I was always kind of a good kid, and now that I can protect myself and I have the wisdom to talk myself out of situations and I have the physical power to get myself out of most situations, I feel like I’m obligated to help other people. I feel crappy when I see people who are vulnerable in danger, so I just took action and I’m glad I did.”


“It hasn’t really sunk in. In a lot of ways I felt as if I was a champion just because of the way I carry myself as a person and the way I look at life. And even before I got the belt I felt like I was an elite fighter in the world. Anyone ranked in the top ten in the world is automatically considered a champion in my opinion and now I feel as if I’m a champion of champions, and life is pretty much the same.”


“My outlook is to never do anything that will disappoint kids across the country, never getting caught in a Tiger Woods scandal or anything crazy like that, and just staying where I’m at as an athlete, continuing to win fights decisively. I want to continue to do the things that got me to where I am – I want to continue being a champion in the way I treat people and continue to be a champion with decisive wins, and that’s important to me. (teammate and UFC welterweight champion) Georges (St-Pierre) always says he’s not fighting as a champion; he’s fighting for his legacy. And I’m very young and I guess I don’t have the right to mention a legacy at this point, but in a way I am fighting for my legacy already, and me being aware of that keeps me on the prowl.”