"I need to show America that I'm a champion," Jones said. "I'm a champion coach. I'm a guy who is not going to be stingy with his success. I'm going to try and motivate others with his success and share his success and ultimately bring up the whole sport of mixed martial arts, whether it's an individual athlete or an ideal or anything. My job is to pay it forward.
"I look at this way, and it's very simple: Somebody put me on to this world of mixed martial arts, and I owe a great deal to that person. the only way I can truly ever say thank you in my eyes is to put someone else on it. So when I'm in the locker room, I look at all of my guys as, 'Which one of you guys is going to be the next guy? Which one of you guys can I bless by giving you my best?' That's the way I feel about the whole situation. I want to put someone else up. I want to change someone else's life. I want to give back to the sport and be a contributor to one of the next great fighters."
Throughout the history of "TUF," past coaches have sometimes taken vastly different approaches to their fighters. Some have jumped in the trenches with their teams while others have preferred to coach from afar, allowing their appointed assistants to handle the dirty work. Where Jones falls in that spectrum remains to be seen, but he teased that helping his fighters with their mental strength was chief among his priorities.
"I think this whole championship is a matter of coaching them mentally," Jones said. "These guys should already be in shape before they got here. I want to see which guys want to consider themselves a leader and which guy is going to take that inferior role. The whole journey is mental. … The whole experience, I consider the tournament to be something like a boot camp, an initiation. So it's more about pushing them to the limit mentally to see if they're really ready to be a champion."
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