UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is receiving extensive coverage prior to his fight Saturday night with challenger Glover Teixeira Saturday night, live on PPV. He appeared on “Live with Kelly and Michael," had an afternoon interview with Little Bow Wow, and was profiled in the New York Times.
Athough Jones has a sometime edgy relationship with the hardcore fanbase, the New York Times piece was laudatory, calling him the face of the sport and a perfect ambassador. And the journalist, William C. Rhoden, clearly had some qualms about the sport itself.
Thoughtful, even philosophical about the sport he dominates, Jones is the perfect ambassador for a polarizing sport.
During a break between interviews, I asked Jones why he thought society needed another brutal sport.
Jones answered by underlining the merits of martial arts.
“Teaching martial arts is moving us toward a more peaceful society,” he argued, “because fighting creates confidence, and confident people tend not to make dumb decisions. They tend to feel more comfortable in their own skin and not feeling like they have to prove anything.”
Asked which sport — boxing or MMA — was more brutal, Jones said, “I think MMA can be seen as more brutal because of the ground and pound, and things that people aren’t comfortable seeing.”
“A lot of boxers see themselves as fighters. They believe they can knock anybody out. They can be arrogant, especially the stars of boxing.
“Most MMA fighters tend to have a little more pride in things like discipline, pride, honor and integrity, Each sport has its level of brutality, but that’s the price you pay to be a fan or to be an actual participant.”
Jones is proof that you can be a fan of the individual without being a fan of the sport.
“I try not to overthink it,” he said when asked if he felt pressure of being the face of UFC.
“I’ve been in the fast lane pretty much the majority of my career,” Jones said. “I don’t really feel any pressure. I’m really comfortable with expectations.
“The fast lane is my comfort zone."
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