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Jon Jones opens up on backlash from fans

UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones will enter tonight’s title-defense against Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at UFC 135 with the trappings of tremendous hype brought on by his meteoric rise in Mixed Martial Arts.

Only 24-years old, and essentially undefeated fourteen fights into his career including a number of dominant wins against highly-respected opponents, Jones’ status as the top competitor in one of MMA’s deepest divisions has earned him as much anger from fans as adulation. Whether his personality rubs certain people the wrong way or they simply don’t like to see others’ overwhelming success, “Bones” has become anything but a consensus fan-favorite since bursting on the scene nearly three years ago.

Jones is aware of the negativity, as he made clear in a recent interview on the UFC website where he spoke about how it has affected him.

“I did feel the hate. Me being a young guy and a guy who wanted to be liked, at first it hurt me a lot,” Jones admitted. “But what I learned very fast is that I need to take my emotions out of my work sometimes, especially when it comes to other people’s opinions. I’m a positive being, that’s my nature…I’m not a person who ever Tweets swear words or ever tries to purposely try to put someone down or hurt them. I’m not a person of ill will. I genuinely try to share knowledge on self-confidence and religion and treating your neighbor right and believing in yourself and working hard and loving your family. And I know in my heart that I’m not doing the wrong thing, so if I’m just trying to help, and people are misconstruing it, I’ve learned not to worry about what I can’t control anymore.”

“I was talking to Brian Stann,” Jones continued while referencing his teammate at Greg Jackson’s camp in New Mexico. “And he said ‘Hey man, you think you get hate messages? I get called a murderer. People think I’m an advocate of war, and I get a lot of hate. And the thing is, the people who actually love you Jon, they’re probably gonna read your interview or watch your YouTube video, and think ‘Wow, what a great guy.’ Most of the people who write those messages, they’re people with nothing else to do but to bring somebody else down. Only people that are below you can pull you down.’”

“That stuck with me,” Jones concluded. “So I learned that as long as I know that I have good intentions, I don’t allow people to misconstrue my words and pull me down.”

However, that doesn’t mean the champion is all smiles and butterflies.

“I know I’m a good person, but, as an athlete, I do have a chip on my shoulder, I do have a big ego as an athlete, and I do believe that I’m the best…I do want to be the best. That’s something I can’t control, and I really can’t hide my pride in the Octagon because I work my butt off to be the best. I’m not ashamed of it anymore.”

Fans can find out whether or not that hard work will pay off when Jones and “Rampage” lock horns later this evening on PPV with the broadcast starting at 9:00 PM EST. UFC 135 preliminary fights will also be available in the hours leading up to the main card with a handful streaming through Facebook (6:00 PM EST) and a pair on Spike TV (8:00 PM EST).


  • Richard Stabone says:

    I think Jon Jones has handled himself remarkably well thus far. Especially when you consider the circumstances — a kid debuting in the UFC a couple weeks after turning 21, and holding the LHW title less than 3 years later. It’s silly to take for granted that most kids would gracefully transition thru that type of meteoric rise, which I believe Jones has been able to do.

    And while the UFC is on a fast track to becoming more & more of a mainstream professional sport, it’s not like the NBA or NFL where the elite prospects are on the national radar from their teen years on, so that by the time they reach the pros they’re already somewhat groomed on how to handle the fame and constant media attention. For Jones his fame came virtually overnight, and he hasn’t missed a punch (very lame pun, yes).

    It basically comes down to a couple things – lots of people love drama, and lots of people love to hate. And those two often feed off each other. Seems that Jones is starting to figure this out and a couple years from now (when he’ll practically be a grizzled veteran at the crusty age of…25!!) he should really have all the sideshow BS figured out where he can let it slide right off while he continues his path towards greatness.

    All this being said, I don’t seem him walking thru Rampage the way he has his other opponents to date. I think it’d be crazy to pick against Jones at this point, but I’m really looking forward to an entertaining fight and stiff test against one of MMA’s all-time greats.

  • Rich S. says:

    I’m trying to figure out what I missed, here.

    Apparently, a lot of people hate Jon Jones. What is there to hate about him?

    I’ve liked the kid since he stepped onto the scene a few years ago. The guy’s a true martial artist, and he seems very humble and appreciative (rare traits for a bona fide badass).

    It just seems like, if you’re looking for someone to hate, there are bigger assholes out there.

  • MCM says:

    I don’t hate on Jon Jones, but I don’t root for him anymore either. “Why” you ask. Basically I feel he ducked Rashad Evans. The whole thing with with getting his hand fixed and then deciding not to once Rashad was committed to another bout, rubbed me the wrong way. But I don’t go out of my way to say anything negative about the guy. I don’t see any reason to “hate” a man simply because he’s talented and successful. I’m not a fan right now, but I may be sometime in the future.

  • qat says:

    Personally i dont really care about Jones personality so far either way, he is a young guy trying to find his place, let him. He has to mature in the spotlight of being a fucking champ, history in other sports shows its not the easiest thing to do. So lets not over-analyze every word that comes out of his mouth.
    Rampage on the other hand should be an adult by now, instead he still acts like an insecure kindergarten-bully, its getting old for me now..

    But well, i just wanna see a good fight. Wouldnt mind to see Rashad-Jones sooner than later though.

  • Richard Stabone says:

    Bones keeps on keepin on.

    And if anyone truly believes Jones has ducked anyone… well, I mentioned earlier that it comes down to people loving drama, or people hating. I forgot to mention that many people simply believe what they read/hear wya too often… i.e. delusion.

    Jones has ducked Rashad like Rosie O’Donnel has ducked an extra meal.

  • TerribleT says:

    Jon Jones is a confident soft spoken young man who’s done nothing but WIN and win with class and humility . All the haters are going to be hatin’ life if they’re hoping for his demise anytime soon cuz Bones Jones is going to be 1 of the fighters mentioned in any discussion about the best pound4pound fighters in MMA for many years to come IMO


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