Though he is relatively inexperienced as a professional, 24-year-old UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is already getting well used to facing opponents both respectful and otherwise.
When he challenged Mauricio “Shogun” Rua for the title last Spring, nothing but respect was shown between the two warriors; when he faced Quinton “Rampage” Jackson last month, the two men remained at each other’s throats until the fight was finished. Add to that the verbal sparring he’s grown used to with his rival and former teammate Rashad Evans and Jones is quickly learning to deal with a little hostility from his opponents.
Though Jones admitted recently to MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani that he’s excited to be facing a respectful fighter who embraces the spirit of the martial arts in Lyoto Machida, he explained today that he doesn’t mind it so much when an opponent takes things in the opposite direction, as it provides him the opportunity to grow and mature as a person and fighter.
“It definitely didn’t bother me at all,” Jones said of the disrespect he’s been shown by Rampage and Evans. “If anything it educated me on how to become a better professional and how to deal with a little more adversity. I would prefer each fight to be a little more respectful, it is martial arts. But, I’m okay with the other side of it too. I understand that there’s two different fan bases: some people like more of that warrior spirit, more of that discipline and honor and some people like more of that cage fighter, ‘I’m gonna knock you out’ type stuff. I’m getting more comfortable with both of them. It is what it is.”