By: Chris Taylor
Since turning down a short-notice title defense bout against Chael Sonnen at UFC 151, Jon Jones (16-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC), who now meets Vitor Belfort (21-9 MMA, 10-5 UFC) at UFC 152, has received a boatload of criticism.
The 25-year-old UFC light heavyweight champion is well aware of his critics, but refuses to be labelled as one the sports “bad guys”.
“I’m not going to say I’ve embraced the role of being a villain because I’m not a villain. I’m not a bad person. I pride myself on inspiring others.”
Recent quotes and tweets made by Jones have not helped his cause, in fact they have added to the media frenzy. But Jones insists he is simply being himself and not trying to provoke matters.
“I’m not used to people hanging on every word that I say, and everything I tweet is like a new article, or everything I say is a new article. But I’ve got to be comfortable with myself, man. I never had an official PR training, nor do I want one. I want to express who I am as a person, and this is who I am.”
Jones admitted being the bad guy isn’t exactly bad in the long run for business purposes, but was still addiment that his recently portrayed image was far from a reality.
“As a person, I’m the nicest dude ever to everyone who’s ever met me, you go to the fan expos, and everyone who leaves Jon Jones’ line is happy. When I meet people every day on the streets, I’m the nicest person. Every day when I walk into Jackson’s gym, I hand out boxes of equipment; I order stuff all the time for my teammates and give it out.”
For those fans who like to call him cocky or arrogant, Jones explained that being positive is just a part of the the fight game.
“For all the people that think I’m cocky, if you really listen to what I say…if you talk to me about fighting, you may just hear something that’s a little arrogant. Because right now, I train so hard to not even get hit, let alone talk about losing a fight. So, I love this sport so much, I owe it to myself to think of myself in the highest regard. So I’m not going to apologize if I’m a little full of myself when it comes to MMA. Because you’ve got to be full of yourself. That’s the way you master yourself. You master your abilities. To be the biggest critic of yourself, and to be able to praise yourself and speak highly of yourself. I’m not apologetic about that, that slight arrogance that I may hold when it comes to being a martial artist.”
UFC 152 goes down September 22 at the Air Canada Center in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.Tags: Chael Sonnen, featured, jon jones, UFC 152, ufc news, Vitor Belfort