UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones believes fighters deserve to be paid more, and he’s willing to risk precious years of his own career to prove it.
Jones, 32, has spent the last few weeks butting heads with UFC brass over the amount he’s paid to fight.
As it turns out, he’s also thinking about every other fighter on the UFC roster. He discussed his current mission on on Steve-O’s “Wild Ride” podcast.
“I’m not asking for anything outrageous, and I know we’re in a pandemic, and I know when you’re a multimillionaire and you’re asking for more, it makes you seem like this greedy person,” Jones said (via ESPN). “I’m very aware of all of this, but I’m also very aware that I have the voice and the platform to make change.
“Most of the guys who are doing the absolute worst are not in the position that they can say publicly, ‘I have a second job, I’m borrowing money from my parents.’ I know so many fighters who are living in the Jackson Wink MMA gym because they can’t afford to have their own apartment, and they’re UFC fighters. So this is sad.
“And if I have to have a bad relationship with Dana, sit out for two years, three years, to bring light to what’s happening, then these are the things people remember you for more than winning belts. I stood for the younger fighters.”
Jon Jones is widely regarded as the greatest fighter of all time, and is seemingly still at the height of his athletic career. That being said, he says he has no interest in fighting until he’s compensated in the way he believes he deserves.
He recognizes that he might not get exactly what he’s asking for, but hopes the UFC will be willing to compromise and meet him somewhere in the middle.
“I don’t want to fight soon,” Jones said. “I have no interest in fighting in the UFC until I get paid what I believe I’m worth.
“I think it’s really powerful when you stand up for what you believe is right. I think eventually the UFC will realize that they’re being stubborn, will realize that they have a special athlete in myself, and I think they’ll eventually meet me halfway.”
Jon Jones has not fought since February, when he defended the light heavyweight strap with a narrow decision win over Dominick Reyes. He’s recently been linked to a rematch with Reyes, a fresh title defense opposite Jan Blachowicz, and even a heavyweight fight with Francis Ngannou, but evidently none of that will happen until the UFC loosens its purse strings.