Jones: ‘I was extremely sad’ without my fighting career
With the third chance that was given to him in terms of his career, former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones promises to turn over a new leaf.
With two drug test failures in the UFC alone that could’ve merited a maximum four-year ban, Jon Jones has gotten a new lease in life, in terms of his fighting career. The former UFC light heavyweight champion will get the chance the recapture glory when he faces Alexander Gustafsson in a rematch at UFC 232.
“Bones” has been candid about his lack of preparation during his first fight with Gustafsson at UFC 165 in 2013. During an exclusive interview with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani at the UFC 232 presser late last week, he also admitted that his overnight superstardom had gotten the better of him at that particular point.
“The guy that fought Gustafsson the first time was right in the heyday of all his crap, as far as just being a party boy, mainly,” Jones said. “Being on top of the world; not many things have happened to my life at that point.
“So, I was just really on top of the world, just feeling invincible.”
Five years later, Jones says his mishaps and the corresponding consequences have been nothing but learning experiences for him.
“Opposed to the guy that you see now, I feel like I’ve been through a lot. I’ve learned a lot. And I just feel like I appreciate the sport a lot more than used to. Having it be taken away from you and losing it, it teaches you how much it means to you. And this sport does mean a lot to me, I was extremely sad without it.”
“Now that I have the opportunity to be back here in the UFC, I feel like I will treat it with so much more respect.”
A win over Gustafsson, which potentially earns him the light heavyweight strap, could also be a form of redemption for Jones. The 31-year-old New York native, however, does not see it that way.
“I don’t feel like I have anything to prove. I just have something to remind everybody, and that’s who I am in this sport and what I am capable of.”
UFC 232 will take place on December 29th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.