When it comes to determining who the best fighters in MMA are, Jon Jones is at the top of the list. Unfortunately, he always seems to get in his own way. Now, with a clear mind, he is ready to climb back up the mountaintop.
Jones (25-1, 1NC) is set to face off against Dominick Reyes at UFC 247 on February 8 inside the Honda Center in Houston, Texas. Looking defend his his Light Heavyweight Championship, Jones’ greatness doesn’t come without its controversies. From using drugs, hit-and-runs and suspensions, Jones has been deep inside the dark. Has he left all of that behind for the better?
In an interview with Ariel Helwani, Jones pronounced himself a new man, alluding that the Jones from the past is no more.
“I do feel like the storm is behind me,” Jones stated, via MMA Fighting. “It has been an interesting journey and I’ve learned so much. I’m just grateful. I’m grateful to have had all the lessons that I’ve been able to learn. I’m grateful that god has kept me through all of it and allow me to grow so much through it all. Yeah, I think my best days are still ahead of me. I feel like I’m just now really getting into a nice groove about what it means to be a father and a professional athlete and a person with great responsibility, and I’m excited about this and I feel like I’m stepping into it well.”
Becoming one of the youngest champions in UFC history at the age of 23 years, 242 days back in 2011 off of Shogun Rua, Jones showed signs of brilliance with every performance. During his initial time as champion, he dealt with the aforementioned issues, halting his growth. UFC President Dana White even stated there should be a 30 for 30 on him. Older and feeling his is in a better place, Jones doesn’t deny his past, but embraces what he was in order to become what he believes he is.
“I just feel like I was maybe at a place where I felt like I was throwing a lot of greatness away and I believe that talent and when you have opportunity, it’s a terrible thing to waste,” Jones went on to say. “So I feel like these days I take more accountability for my actions and my emotions and my circle and behaviors and things like that. I think that’s been the major difference, just more accountability.”
If he was to defeat Reyes (12-0), Jones would have cleared out a majority of the light heavyweight division. His goal is to move to heavyweight, looking to add more gold to his collection. At one point, his decisions were set to doom him. With a new lease on life, Jones sees his stock going up. As far as it falling back down, anything is possible.
“You can never promise anything in life. You just never know what twists and turns life is going throw at you,” said Jones. “But I do feel like I’m on a great track and I’m excited to just continue to elevate and just be the best person that I can be and try to help as many people as I can help. I’ve never been more excited for my future. I’m really excited for my future. I see nothing but great things coming in my future.”