Jon Jones says he'll never forget the kindness shown by Ronda Rousey over the past year.
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Jon Jones has had a dark past year. He says he’s come to terms with the fact that he has a drug and lifestyle problem, after a hit-and-run accident and the ensuing UFC suspension that saw him stripped of his light heavyweight title.
Through those dark times, he says that his teammates have been supportive and encouraging. Additionally, Jones cited two other big UFC names as positive forces in his life, recently.
"Ronda Rousey definitely reached out to me. Conor McGregor reached out to me," he told MMA Fighting, recently.
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"Ronda has actually been very supportive to me. She texted me quite a few times. She even invited me to come and stay at her beach house in California. She told me, ‘you know, Jon, you’re going to come back from this. Anything I can do for you, you let me know. If you want to get away, I’ve got a house here, and not many people know where it’s at. Come whenever. It’s your house until you get right.’"
Jones says he’ll be forever grateful for Rousey’s kindness. The Irishman also chipped in with some much-needed positivity.
"Stuff like that shows you that man, this girl is on top of the world right now and she’s sitting there thinking about me in my darkest hours. That’s something that I’ll never forget," he continued.
"Conor McGregor wrote, ‘hey champ. Once a champ, always a champ. I believe you’re going to come back from this, strong.’ Just writing these words of encouragement."
Jones does not feel that the UFC and its brass was anywhere near as supportive. After UFC co-owner and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta visited Jones following his arrest, along with UFC president Dana White, the promtion announced that it was suspending Jones indefinitely and taking away his belt.
Jones was just a month away from an originally-scheduled fight with Anthony Johnson at that point. The Johnson title fight ended up going to Daniel Cormier.
Though the UFC worked hard to seem concerned and serious about punishing Jones, the fighter says that he got the distinct feeling from the meeting that he was only suspended and stripped of his belt because he told Fertitta and White that he wasn’t interested in fighting. Had he been interested in going forward with the Johnson bout in May, Jones feels, the UFC would have continued to let him slide, his belt in tow.
"I really have the feeling that if I was ready to fight, they would have let me fight," he said.
"Especially because there was no court date and I wasn’t proven guilty of anything, at the time. I feel as if they would have let me fight, for sure."
Jones went on to say that he didn’t feel the meeting between he and the two executives and owners was one between friends, though "Bones" said that Fertitta came off as much more genuine than White. When asked if he felt real concern for his well-being during the meeting from his bosses, Jones was quick to answer.
"No, not really," he said.
"They had never came to see me, before, about anything. They never traveled to say hi, have dinner. The first time they came to Albuquerque to visit me was to take my belt away.
"You know, honestly, Lorenzo did seem like he really cared. Lorenzo seemed very genuine. He looked me in the eyes and was like, ‘How are you doing?’ At the time, I didn’t know how I was feeling. I was all over the place, emotionally. But at the end of the day, it was a business meeting. It definitely wasn’t one that went in my favor."
Jones is currently off his suspension and training to return to action. The fighter said that, although he hasn’t received any official word, he’s proceeding as if he will fight light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier this coming April.