UFC light-heavyweight champion, Jon Jones, had his ups and downs during 2012, but his trials seem to have made him a more confident and secure person. He spoke rather candidly during a Jan. 25 Q&A session; showing fans a more natural side he’s kept hidden for years.
Gone was the man who tried desperately to win MMA fans over to his side, replaced with a charismatic guy who didn’t seem to have any problems opening up.
Here are some of the more interesting questions thrown at Jon Jones — who will defend his light-heavyweight title against Chael Sonnen on April 27 at UFC 159 — during the Q&A session:
Question: The hardest hitter he’s ever faced
Jones: Lyoto Machida caught me flush. Caught me pretty good [crowd cheers]. Don’t cheer for that guys!
His take on gun control
Men, that’s just tough controversial stuff up here. I don’t think guns kill people; I think people kill people [crowd cheers]. I think maybe it should be harder to get guns, more mental evaluations and things like that. But guns are just a tool.
How soon he plans to move to the UFC’s heavyweight division and potential opponents
I have a nutritionist now, so I’ve been making weight a lot easier now and staying in shape during my offseason and things like that. So I think [a move to] heavyweight is going to be prolonged until around 2014, maybe late this year. Who knows? It will definitely be a fight for the fans, and I’d want to fight someone at the top of the food chain.
His thoughts on fighting Daniel Cormier as a heavyweight
That guy is gonna have to come and get me. He’s been talking a lot of trash. I’m gonna make him cut that weight.
Did the DWI arrest and the drama that unfolded after UFC 151 was cancelled help him grow as a person?
When I first got into this sport, no one teaches you how to be a pro athlete. I had this thing where I was just trying to be perfect for the fans, especially the kids. It was tough. The DWI situation let people know that I wasn’t perfect, and it set me free in a way. So I’m grateful for everything I’ve been through throughout the course of the last several years. I’m happy, and I am being myself a bit more.
His thoughts on Chael Sonnen’s trash talk
Chael, his stuff is wack. He’s just wack. He says the same jokes all the time, half of his stuff is written.
Why he isn’t in the NFL even though his brothers Chandler Jones [New England Patriots] and Arthur Jones [Baltimore Ravens] are.
I’m pretty tall and skinny, so they would probably have me as like a wide receiver or like a d-back or quarterback or something like that, and I was terrible at all the skill positions. They put me at the defensive line, and I was just too small. Terrible, just terrible football player. I make a great water-boy, Gatorade boy, whatever you guys need, beer boy, but terrible football player.
On avenging his loss to Matt Hamill (Jones was disqualified for an illegal elbow after manhandling “The Hammer”)
I don’t see that fight happening. I’m not sure he’s still working with the UFC. Things happen. Being undefeated would have brought a lot more stress and pressure to my life, so I’m grateful to not be undefeated.
His thoughts on Chael Sonnen’s therapeutic use exemption (TUE) for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).
I’m a lot younger than a lot of my opponents. I’m 25 and these guys are in their mid-thirties. If he has a doctor’s note for his TRT, then whatever. I’m looking for the greatest challenge, and Chael being older, I don’t want that to be a disadvantage for him at all. If that’s gonna make him compete at a high level then I’m not gonna hate on him. I’m looking for the greatest challenge, and I want to beat him at his best.
His thoughts on UFC fighters forming a union
I want to keep my job; I’m not going to say much about that right now, unions and stuff. I think Dana White treats us fighters awesome. With the economy today and stuff… Dana changed my life, and he’s blessed me so much and all the fighters. He’s helped me so much, so I’m totally grateful. You don’t need millions and millions and millions of dollars to be happy. I’m content where I’m at, taking care of my family.
Besides his safe answer about collective bargaining, I really enjoyed most of Jones’ answers. What do you think folks? Has Jones matured a lot or I’m I reading too much into this?