Jon Jones wants to be the greatest champion in sports history
UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones might have inadvertently landed himself in some potentially hot water earlier this week when he revealed that the reason he lost his Nike sponsorship earlier this year wasn’t exactly caused by the brawl he had with Daniel Cormier back in August.
The reason why that became important stems from a September meeting where Jones appeared before the Nevada State Athletic Commission and stated, under oath, that the brawl directly contributed to the loss of his Nike deal.
Then just two days ago, Jones said he owed the commission an apology after he misspoke about the nature of his Nike deal going away.
"The truth about the Nike deal (is) when I was in front of the commission I definitely worded it wrong — Nike did not drop me because of that fight. I kind of owe an apology to Nike for saying that they dropped me because of the fight. They actually didn’t," Jones said on Monday.
They’re like ‘technically you lied under oath’ and I didn’t
— Jon Jones on why he lost his Nike deal
"Nike’s been known to stick by their athletes through much worse things than a brawl in the middle of the MGM. The truth is Nike didn’t seem as if they wanted to move forward in the field of MMA. They weren’t activating me in the way they said they would. They promised me a lot of commercials and all types of stuff outside of the financial and merchandise and stuff. I told them, ‘You know what, if you guys aren’t too serious about martial arts, then I don’t want to be a part of the company and hopefully I can respectfully leave.’ I was supposed to be out anyways."
On Wednesday, Jones explained his explanation when he saw several reports that he may have perjured himself by accident when he said he misspoke about why the Nike deal went away back in September.
Jones says that the Nike deal was going away regardless of the brawl with Cormier in August, but the fight ultimately sped up the process.
"They’re like ‘technically you lied under oath’ and I didn’t," Jones said. "I had several months left on my Nike contract and when that fight happened it sped up the process of me losing my Nike deal. I had thousands of dollars left on my Nike account that I never got to spend. I had several months of monthly revenue that I never got to receive.
"So I lost several thousands of dollars because of that fight. Technically that fight was the reason for thousands of dollars being out of my bank that I could have received. Technically, they have nothing that could come back on me for."
It’s unknown if the Nevada State Athletic Commission would even pursue Jones for the comments made back in September or the more recent apology he issued when talking about the loss of the Nike deal in regards to the brawl with Cormier.
For now, Jones has much bigger things on his mind heading into Saturday night as he gets ready to defend his UFC light heavyweight title for the eighth consecutive time. Jones is already the record holder for the most title defenses in the division, but he still has new ground to conquer in his pursuit of becoming the greatest mixed martial artist of all time.
Some have called Jones arrogant for openly staking his claim to the top spot in the sport, but he believes people should look at what he’s doing as inspiration. He wants other people to try and climb the same mountains he’s been on during his career the same way he was chasing Tito Ortiz’s light heavyweight title defense record when he first became champion.
"That’s just dream to be the greatest. Why not?" Jones said. "I think my confidence offends a lot of people, but I think people should learn from it, be inspired by it instead of finding it offensive. Why not want to be the greatest?"
Jones isn’t shy when talking about being the greatest there’s ever been, but he’s not there yet by his own admission. Both Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre have him topped in wins and total title defenses, but Jones just looks at that as another challenge he can conquer.
"I do believe it in my heart," Jones said about one day being considered the best of all time. "Just because of the records, being one of the youngest guys to ever do it, but I would say I don’t believe I am the best. Anderson (Silva) and Georges (St-Pierre) have done amazing things.
"I want to be the best. I want to be the best champion of all time. Not only MMA fighter, but champion. And there’s a lot of great champions who are far ahead of me, but as long as I keep my mind in that type of direction then I can’t help but land amongst those guys."