UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has had time to think about his decision to turn down a short-notice fight with Chael Sonnen. By doing so, Jones was attacked by UFC president Dana White, fellow fighters and members of the MMA community for days.
The backlash, however, hasn’t changed the mind of Jones, who told the Associated Press he would do the exact same thing if the situation came up again.
“I had to do what’s right for myself by turning down that fight. Dana had to do what was right for himself by putting the blame on everyone else except for himself,” Jones said. “The lesson to be learned is, at the end of the day, you have to protect yourself and your family.”
The UFC was forced to cancel the first event in 11 years. “Bones” will now face Vitor Belfort on September 22 at UFC 152: Jones vs. Belfort.
“I’ve been dealing with a lot of controversy,” Jones said. “A lot of insults right now. People tell me, ‘You’re the champ, you’ve got to take the fight.’ Being the champ wasn’t given to me. I don’t owe anybody, anything.”
Many have pointed to the lack of a quality card as the reason the UFC decided to not go ahead with UFC 151, something Jones also stated.
“Fighters can learn the lesson of doing what’s best for themselves and not feeling like puppets,” Jones said. “I think the UFC has learned a lesson of making sure they stay loyal to the fans and give them full cards.”