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Saturday, 04/28/2012, 11:56 am

Analyzing The Poll | Why Is There No Love For Jon Jones?

By: Red Mattos

Jon Jones has beaten four former light heavyweight champions. His only loss, a disqualification – because he threw an elbow from the wrong direction – is the only blemish on an otherwise amazing record. Given his age, meteoric rise and sheer dominance over all his opponents thus far, it seems like he should be a shoe in for pound-4-pound king, right? Well, not exactly.

In a recent BJPENN.COM poll Bones was pitted against Anderson Silva with the question being simply ‘Who is better?’. The disparity between the numbers was larger than I had anticipated. 77% in favor of Silva. If this was an election, Jones would’ve given a concession speech minutes after the polls opened.

But why? Would Jones have faired the same if he were against other p4p “champions” such as Aldo, GSP or Cruz? In my opinion, yes. Explaining why, though, isn’t quite that easy. There are a few issues that I suspect may be the reason for Jones not getting any love.

1-His humble arrogance. I know this may sound like an oxymoron and it could possibly be one, but Jones’ “destined for greatness” attitude rubs people the wrong way. He never really talks trash about his opponents, in the same style as a Sonnen or Koscheck, he simply shows confidence in his skills. Granted his confidence has grown to gargantuan levels, but who could blame him? Could you imagine any other fighter – with the exception of maybe GSP – not being a little full of him/herself after doing what he’s done thus far?

2-The UFC sponsorship. A fellow mma-enthusiasts equated the UFC’s sponsorship of Jones to Nascar sponsoring a driver or the WBO sponsoring a boxer. Now, I don’t watch Nascar, and I can’t remember the last boxing match I saw, so I’m not going to say for certain that these things don’t happen. But it does make one think. After reading the comments on here, more than a few people aren’t happy about this. But is that really Jones’ fault? Should he be receiving flak for taking on a sponsor?

3-His religion. Before the hate mail starts let me just say that I personally have no issues with Jones’ faith, or anyone else’s for that matter. However, I have noticed that some seem to get quite irritated by the man wearing his religion on his sleeve, or chest. This never really made sense to me. Jones certainly isn’t the first fighter to give credit to God after a win or to thank God for the physical gifts he’s been given. I’m pretty sure he’s not the first fighter to have a religious tattoo, either. So what’s the reason for all the hostility?

4-He’s still ‘new’. Jones may not be new to fighting – he points to the scars on his face as proof – but he is relatively new to mma and the UFC. The fact that he hasn’t ‘paid his dues’ is a matter that a lot of people seem to take issue with. I could only find a record of him having six fights – all wins via stoppage – before entering the UFC. Is that not enough? Maybe, maybe not.

Perhaps it’s something else, something that can’t easily be put into words. For some reason, people just seem to think he’s full of it. I’ve never met the man so I can only go by what I see and hear in interviews and shows. I think what we see is him, and to contradict Dan Henderson, I think he is genuine. I’m just not sure if that makes it better or worse.

So what could Jones do to win over more fans? Win? He’s already doing that. I think the answer is the exact opposite. He needs to lose. Now, I’m not saying he should throw a fight. That won’t get him any fans. But if Jones were to lose, really lose, not just a DQ, but get stopped or even lose a unanimous decision- that would be something. Because after a loss, you get to see what a person is made of and you get to see something that Jones hasn’t had to use in his fights, heart.

It’s not how many times you get knocked down, it’s how many times you get back up – to quote every action movie ever – and we’ve never seen Jones get knocked down. Say Jones were to lose to Henderson via (I hate this name) H-bomb, then come back and defeat Henderson in the rematch that would most definitely take place. Think of how many fans would find a new found respect for Jones.

Of course, I could be completely wrong and a loss would only add more fuel to the Jones hatred brewing in the belly of many a fan. What do you think could be done, if anything at all?

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