You may remember Marcus Jones from his days with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but now this former NFL star is giving up the pigskin to tackle a new challenge – winning the title of The Ultimate Fighter. Jones, along with 15 other contestants, are set to square off against one another in the tenth season of TUF, which premieres tomorrow. Jones recently spoke to FanHouse to reflect on his decision to pursue a career in MMA while in his thirties.
“The biggest factor for me was the Tim Sylvia-Randy Couture fight (in March of 2007),” Jones stated. “I was 33 at the time and I saw that Couture just started fighting at 33 and was still great into his 40s. I didn’t want to be that person who just spends his life standing on the sidelines, wondering, ‘What if?’ so I started taking jiu jitsu classes at Gracie Tampa, and five months after that I had my first fight.”
Jones went on to compare the level of difficulty training for the NFL versus preparing for a bout.
“Fighting in the Octagon is more demanding on your body. The pain that you go through over a short period of time, all the training that you have to do for just 15 minutes of fighting, to me, that’s just incredibly difficult.”
Despite the toll on his body, Jones is happy he made the switch to mixed martial arts before it was too late.
“I do wish I had started MMA at an earlier age. I ask myself, If I would have started jiu jitsu in my 20s, can you imagine what kind of fighter I’d be today? I’m a much better fighter now than I was during my first fight. In my first fight, I barely knew how to throw a jab. Now I feel comfortable fighting anybody.
“And at the end of the day, we were all there trying to become the Ultimate Fighter. No matter what you had done before, that’s what we were there for.”
Fans will see if Marcus Jones can win a six-figure contract with the UFC on the 10th season of The Ultimate Fighter, which premieres Wednesday, September 16th on Spike. Other notable contestants on the show include former International Fight League heavyweight champion Roy Nelson, Wes Sims, Jon Madsen and Kimbo Slice.