It seems lately that everyone has something to say to UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
Sure, he might bring some of the chatter on himself when he makes an off the cuff remark about another fighter or if he’s having one of those nights where he’s answering Twitter questions and certain names come up. Either way, Jones has become one of the most polarizing names in mixed martial arts and as he approaches his next title defense, it seems like everyone wants a piece of him.
For instance, John Hackleman, legendary coach of former UFC champion Chuck Liddell and current advisor to top contender Glover Teixeira, was recently asked about Jones potentially overlooking his fighter and if that brought into question why he’s not as magnetic with as many fans. Hackleman responded that maybe the reason why Jones doesn’t feel the adoration that Liddell had is because he does overlook opponents instead of respecting the person standing in front of him.
On Wednesday, Jones finally responded, but had nothing bad to say about Hackleman or his opinion when comparing him to Liddell. Jones isn’t trying to be Liddell inside or outside the Octagon, so it’s not a subject he really had much reason to address anyways.
"I think the whole thing was based around me looking over Glover Teixeira, something that I’m not doing. I’m not going to sit here and insult John (Hackleman), I respect him a lot as a coach, I actually think he’s one of the best in the business. That’s why I’m training so hard for this fight because of how much respect I have for Glover and his coach," Jones said.
She’s an amazing inspiration, athlete, she’s just awesome in every way. Ronda, you’re my girl. I hope that she hears that
— Jon Jones to Ronda Rousey
"As far as my likeability compared to Chuck, I’m not Chuck Liddell. I’m just me. I’m shamelessly me. I’m really proud of what I’ve been able to do in my career. I don’t try to compare myself to Chuck or any other champion. I figure as long as long as I’m breaking records and doing my part, that’s all that matters."
Then there’s the curious case of top five-ranked light heavyweight contender Phil Davis, who has been noticeably vocal about Jones lately in every interview he’s doing. Davis by nature has always been fairly soft spoken when it comes to title shots or even discussing Jones in the past because when they were both young in the sport, the questions were already being launched at them about a potential fight down the road.
Now with Davis possibly one fight away from a title shot, he’s turning up the pressure on Jones for the first time ever taking jabs at Twitter comments and even going as far as saying that the champion will probably drop out of his fight at UFC 172 against Teixeira. In case you were curious, Davis also stated he’d be happy to step in and fight the top contender if Jones does exit the show.
Jones fired back with kindness instead of quips when talking about Davis because he understands part of the job of getting on the radar for a title shot is stirring fan and media support about a potential matchup. Davis is just doing his job to drum up attention for his bid to earn a title shot, and Jones gets that just like anyone else should.
"Phil, he has his job to do, his job is to try and get a title shot and I figure he figures if he can stir up enough controversy and insult me enough, that will get him closer to a title shot. Maybe it’s working, we’re definitely talking about him more than usual, and good for him. Obviously, I’ll be here. My goal is to be in the No. 1 spot when he gets to me and everything will take care of itself in time," Jones said.
Then things came back around to something Jones actually did say not so long ago about UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey.
The light heavyweight king made a comment during an interview where he intimated that Rousey gets a public relations push from the UFC, which has helped her land major movie roles all while quickly becoming one of the faces of the organization in less than two years time. Rousey fired back at Jones prior to her fight against Miesha Tate, but now in retrospect the 205-pound champion is making it clear that he meant no disrespect to the top fighter in the women’s division.
Jon Jones has nothing but love for Ronda Rousey
As a matter of fact, Jones looks at Rousey as an inspiration to his own career and aspirations of one day making it big in Hollywood.
"As far as the Ronda Rousey situation, I want to go on record, I hope I didn’t offend Ronda at all saying that the UFC may be pushing her more than they push me. I was just stating the way I felt and using her as an example. I’m a huge fan of her, and I think I’ve made it pretty clear what I think of her. She’s an amazing inspiration, athlete, she’s just awesome in every way. Ronda, you’re my girl. I hope that she hears that," Jones said about Rousey.
"Ronda’s actually inspired me to get into my acting a little bit more in my off season. She’s really been an inspiration to me the way she trains really hard, stays on top of her MMA game and she actually works on her acting with her acting coaches and then she goes and does this role. She stays very active. I respect that a lot about her and I think it’s something I’m going to focus on a little bit more in my future."
If you notice one glaring omission in this list of fighters all taking jabs at Jones, which then require his response, none of them come from his next opponent Glover Teixeira. Jones sees that as a sign of respect that the Brazilian is focusing on the task at hand, which is trying to wrangle the UFC light heavyweight title away from him during their fight at UFC 172.
Jones isn’t worried about the other fighters all name dropping him in interviews because they aren’t who he’s facing next, and that’s all he has on his mind these days.
"One thing I’ve realized is I’m getting chirped by the guys who aren’t actually contracted to fight me," Jones said. "I think you know your challenge is coming up it can be a little more nerve racking than sitting on the sidelines and talking about what you would do. Me knowing this, I’m just going to focus on my task at hand and let everything else take care of itself in the future."