Jon Jones is one of the most recognizable faces in MMA, and at a time when he is weeks out from the opportunity to reclaim the light heavyweight crown from his fiercest rival, Daniel Cormier, his star is brighter than ever.
Long before Jon Jones was a staple of pound-for-pound lists and a pay-per-view hit, however, he was just a skinny wrestler trying to gain his footing in the perilous world of mixed martial arts.
In the 2013 documentary The Proving Grounds, which shines the spotlight on Greg Jackson’s renowned MMA gym in Albuquerque, New Mexico, we learned a bit about Jones’ origins.
In the unreleased clip at the top of this post, we’re given an even deeper glimpse into his Jones’ past. The fighter himself details his brief run as a football player, his journey into MMA, and the origins of his nickname “Bones”. His father and mother, who recently passed away, share their initial reaction to Jones’ announcement that he’d be pursuing a career as a cage fighter.
Watch it all at the top of this post.
Jones will enter his UFC 214 battle with Daniel Cormier having not fought since April of 2016, when he scored a fairly tepid win over Ovince St. Preux. His next most recent fight occurred in January of 2015. On that night, he defeated Daniel Cormier to defend his UFC light heavyweight crown. Unfortunately, he was stripped of the title shortly thereafter as the result of a litany of legal troubles – troubles that continued for some time thereafter.
The Proving Grounds documentary was directed by The Mash-Up King. You can watch it in full here. At present, the director is working on another project titled El Pantera, which will chronicle the rise of Yair Rodriguez, and is scheduled for release later this year.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 7/19/2017.