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The Quotable Mr. Jones

Jon Jones, in his own words...

UFC light heavyweight champion Jon JonesUFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones isn't just the best fighter in the world, pound-for-pound; he's also a quote machine with a unique outlook on his place in the MMA world. Here's just a sample before his April 26 title defense against Glover Teixeira in the main event of UFC 172 in Baltimore.


“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 emphasis goes more towards being associated with someone of his greatness and stealing some of that and having that under my belt and knowing that I beat a guy who knocked out Wanderlei (Silva), who knocked out Rich Franklin and the Who’s Who, and knowing that I was able to beat a guy who absolutely demolishes other guys. I feel like when you beat people who are so great, you kinda steal some of their accolades, and that’s what I want to do.”


“Many things keep me motivated. Goal setting keeps me motivated. Guys like Anderson Silva’s record, Tito Ortiz’ record, those things keep me motivated. The fear of being embarrassed on national TV, that keeps me motivated, and I guess one of my biggest motivators are all my doubters. I’m absolutely positive that you shouldn’t fight out of trying to prove people wrong; you should fight out of the love, but I struggle with that. I really do love the sport, but I really do love proving people wrong.”


“What I think could be happening is, I might be beating some of the guys that are great and always will be great, but maybe just a little bit past their time. And possibly, some of the toughest matchups of my career will be when I start fighting the guys who are my age, these new guys who are new to the sport just like me and have ambition just like me and a new excitement and appreciation for their job. Maybe those will be my hardest matchups. Right now I’m fighting guys who are always going to be great but they might be a little past their time and they’re catching me right in my prime.”


“Every time I win a fight, it’s a beautiful reward to myself for all the stuff I go through and all the training,” he said. “It’s a beautiful, beautiful reward, and I still love it. It’s all worth it.”


“Over the two years I think I’ve gotten more comfortable. I don’t find myself being as nervous as I used to be. I’ve learned to focus on just the training and trusting myself. I’m starting to not really doubt myself anymore. I’m realizing that I’m pretty good at fighting, and that’s the result of the hard work and the time spent studying and training. I don’t spend as much time being a mental wreck leading up to the fight as I used to.”


“I see Floyd out there having fun, and I think that’s awesome that he’s such a clean athlete. He doesn’t drink, he doesn’t smoke, and he just appears to do things right. He’s a hard worker and that can’t be denied. For him to be almost 40 years old and still be so dominant, it lets me know that I can do it too, that I can continue to do great things and that the luck doesn’t run out for those who work hard and continuously apply themselves.”


“I think it’s really important to have goals that have nothing to do with the financial side of things. Right now I’ve gotten to a point financially that I never thought I’d be at, and I don’t think it’s changed who I am as a person at all, and that tells me that maybe I don’t necessarily do this because of the money. I do it because of the way it makes me feel, to be the best in the world at something and to be able to pursue excellence and be a better version of yourself. Things like that make you feel good and always give you a reason to improve in life. That’s what fighting’s done for me – it’s given me a way to be better.”