UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones currently lies on a precipice.
The 24-year-old’s quick rise through the light heavyweight ranks to the top of the division and his recent DUI accident mirror all too well the rise and fall of similarly talented athletes in other sports. It’s up to Jones and how he handles himself in the face of his recent mistake to ensure that he doesn’t become another cautionary tale.
UFC president Dana White doesn’t see things going that way for Jones. White told Ariel Helwani for MMAFighting recently that he believes the young champion will use this as a learning experience and will come back a better man for it.
I don’t know all the facts, as far as legally what’s going on with him and whatever town he crashed his car in. But, you know, I talked to Jon. Jon is a good guy, he’s a good kid. And that’s what everyone has to remember: when everybody’s putting this pressure on this kid — is he the pound-for-pound best in the world? No. Not yet. There’s so much more that I think, in my opinion, goes with being the pound-for-pound best in the world that Anderson Silva has proved a zillion times over. The guy’s been in the UFC forever. No matter how big, how famous he gets, no matter how much money this guy makes, he’s always the same. Listen, Anderson isn’t the easiest guy in the world to deal with either, but Anderson is a professional. He’s a martial artist. He’s beat everybody that was thrown at him. He’s been a champion almost the entire time he’s been in the UFC. We’re gonna find out now, you know, what happens with Jon Jones. Obviously, the legal side of it, I have no idea what’s going on with that. Him and his people are handling that. I think that, in the conversations that I’ve had with him, this is going to end up being a positive thing for him. In that, if he handles this thing the right way — in which I think he will — lesson learned.
White confirmed that Jones is still on target to defend his title against Dan Henderson this September at UFC 150.