UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones appeared on a special edition of The MMA (After) Hour in what was his first full interview since it was announced he would be fighting Vitor Belfort at UFC 152, not Dan Henderson (or Chael Sonnen) at UFC 151.
Excerpts from the conversation appear below, with the entire interview at bottom.
"The main reason I didn't take the fight is basically because I talked to my head coach, my muay thai coach and my boxing coach, they know my weaknesses and strengths, they know how my muscles react. Each coach said, straight away that they think I can win the fight but they ALSO said that the want me to be aware that the styles a different, They have different kinds of clinch games, different takedowns... I'm not going to go through all the details of his game because it will sound tacky to those who don't understand fighting but to some it up, Chael Sonnen is a southpaw, has different takedowns, different subs, different ground and pound, he's just a completely different warrior. Taking the fight would be ignorant."
"People are saying "he's brave enough to fight you, why aren't you brave enough to fight him? There's people on the street right now that would take a fight against me just to see how they would do. Let alone wanting to talk about one of the top fighters in the world wanting to fight me with absolutely nothing to lose."
"People don't realize Sonnens record is 5-6.... 5-6! Why would I put my world championship on the line against a dangerous opponent but a guy who hasn't even remotely earned the title shot, that's like being someone's jackpot and I refuse to be someone's jackpot."
"It's like, why would I contradict myself when I clearly just said that I think Chael Sonnen is a racist? The way he treats Brazilians is totally uncalled for; I have zero respect for him... Chael Sonnen is a punk, he's a thug... He calls himself the American Gangster but he ratted out all his friends in that money laundering situation? That's not gangster. He's a straight punk. He won't be remembered… Chael's words hold no substance."
"People ask my why I'm so good at fighting, it's not because I'm this freak athlete is because I'm training, go to my Twitter, I'm always talking about how I've just finished training and watching tape. If I've made it well documented that I'm obsessed with my opponents pre-fight, why would I take the fight and go against my word?"
"The only guy I would've fought on short notice is Rashad Evans because his style is so similar to Dan Henderson's. Rashad Evans is a guy who is a good wrestler, has good scrambles in certain positions, has a huge overhand right, his left isn't really dangerous but it's there. Anyone else I would've said no, you can't pick fights based on your emotions. I can't put a multi-million dollar career and title on the line because someone is talking about my momma."
"Another thing I've said in the past is that I said I would never allow Sonnen to jump the line by using his mouth and what was he doing? Jumping the line by using his mouth. The guy is a straight punk."
"When he retires, there wont be any meaningful quotes from him, it will just be silliness all from a guy who likes to troll people."
"I fought four times in ten months, at times I didn't know if I'd win those fights because I was doing so much for the UFC, I do tons of things that I don't get paid for but putting my livelihood on the line? You can't ask me to do that, they should've understood that and kept the card going."
"All the fighters that are insulting me on the card, I'm not the one who is saying that you're not good enough for pay per view."
"I felt like a piece of meat."
"It's good to know where I stand with Dana White, I don't want a fake relationship with anybody."
"I haven't talked to Dana White, I'll let him calm down then talk to him. He has his reasons to be upset but I think he has to realize that I have a reason too. I thought he would be more supportive. He thinks I'm scared of Sonnen? I'm not scared, it's about being smart."
"My job is not to be popular among fighters, I could care less if any fighter liked me or not, my job is to show up, do my job and go back home."
"I think it's funny how Sonnen became a hero out of this, he had NOTHING to do with the fight. He just talked his way into it when he had nothing to do with it at all. I signed for Henderson, not Henderson and his best friend."
"Even Henderson is talking trash about me not taking the fight. It's like signing for one news company and then signing to go do weather, it's like I'm not prepared for weather, I don't do weather."
"Lyoto Machida says he doesn't want to fight me on three weeks notice and not ONE article or fan is bashing him they all want to bash me? Really?"
"Regarding the rumor about Jon calling Dana to tell Sonnen to stop...
"...that is totally not true, regarding this pro wrestling guy who made this article... can he just make a bogus article like that? That is totally not true, I've dealt with Rampage, Rashad why would I do that? It's not true."
"Chael Sonnen will not be remembered as the all time greats, he'll be known as the guy who lost to Anderson Silva and didn't look good doing it. Every time he gets the opportunity, he comes up short. Keep getting your twitter followers up."
"People who are insulting me... you know sometimes it's really funny because the jokes are so clever. Sometimes it's DUI, sometimes it's people calling me "151 Killer." I have a big hate fan base, when people hate on me, they're showing me how much they care about me. My haters know more about me than my supports do, it's really touching."
"When you're hated, you know you're doing something right. Lebron James, people HATE him, but the dude is still paid, he's a champion, he's happy he's got his family. It just comes with the job. I just focus on the people that love me and realize my message."
"It's about changing lives. If I can inspire one person to live happier, be more confident, find Christ, I've done my job. If that comes with an army of haters, it's all good! The Jon Jones train is rolling."
"I wasn't comparing my self to Jesus [on twitter], there's only one Jesus and he's the reason I'm talking to you right now."
"Nike have stood by me, they don't really care about the stuff going on right now. It's just a big inconvenient thing for our sport."
"I did it when I was bored after practice, what I meant by my tweet to Rashad is "dude, why are you training Vitor when he's fighting for what you want?" Are you going to fight him like you fought me? Or are you going to move down to middleweight."
"Vitor Belfort is an honorable respectful dude and former UFC champion, I think it's a better fight than Dan Henderson, has better boxing and is a MUCH harder fight."
"He doesn't necessarily deserve the shot but I'm honored to fight him and it's a really hard fight, he's a worthy opponent."
"I'm not disappointing they didn't book the Chael fight, his time will come and when it does, I'm going to beat him SILLY, I'm going to beat him SILLY."
"My Mom is very sick and she has an illness where she has come close to not being here several times so to insult my parents is too far. The guy has no class, insulting Anderson Silva's wife, but people like that! People call me p---- but... OK! That just goes to show that I can't take too many people seriously."
"I don't regret my decision. The only thing I regret in my career is the whole DIU incident. It's really woken me up and made me mature myself more."
"The truth lives for ever and the truth about the 151 situation, the people that use logic and their minds to review the situation know I made the right call."
"It'll be awkward to talk to Dana leading up to the fight but I'm excited for the fight."
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