UFC superstar Jon Jones revealed to Heavy he isn’t exactly sure what will come next in his fighting career but that he is definitely nervous about facing the biggest and best fighters in the heavyweight division.
Of course, when you’re already one of the most dominant fighters in UFC history, being nervous is a good thing. Jones said he’s “excited to be nervous” about moving up to the heavyweight ranks next year.
The 33-year-old longtime pound-for-pound king of MMA believes those feelings will bring out the best in him as a competitor.
“I’m excited to be nervous about these guys because they’re going to drive me into an obsession to work hard and to reach a heightened level of faith,” Jones told Heavy.
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UFC’s Plans vs. Jon Jones
According to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, the UFC is planning for Jones to get an immediate title shot in the division after the upcoming rematch between UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and top-rated contender Francis Ngannou.
That fight is supposed to happen sometime during the spring, and Jones would face the winner in a summer blockbuster megafight.
But the longtime top fighter in the world said he goes back and forth on whether jumping right into an immediate fight for the title is the best move.
“I go back and forth,” Jones said. “Sometimes I feel like I need to build myself up as a heavyweight and see how I can compete with all these other guys.”
In his last fight, Jones defeated Dominick Reyes via unanimous decision at UFC 247 in February. Jones hasn’t competed since he vacated his 205-pound crown over the summer with the plan of moving up to the heavyweight ranks, but he knows waiting for next summer would leave him out of the cage for over a year.
Still, Jones said he might just decide to jump right into the deep end of the pool anyway because that’s just his nature.
“Other times I’m just like ‘You know, Jon, the fast lane is your lane. The tough fights? The world championship fights? The scariest guys in the world? That’s your comfort zone, Jon. Why not challenge yourself to the highest level if that’s the type of person you have always been?'”
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The 2 Sides of Jones
So there are two “Bones” Jones right now in his head, one that wants him to take his time, and another that wants to tussle with the biggest and baddest dude he can find as soon as possible.
“I feel like the humble side of me tells me, ‘Jon, take a warm-up fight, let’s build yourself appropriately, you’re only 33. What’s the rush?’,” Jones said.
But then there’s the other guy.
“And then there’s the side of me that’s chasing greatness, the side that believes that I have the ability to be part of greatness in this world.”
So Jones believes the UFC’s plan could very well be exactly what happens.
“That side of me makes me feel more obligated to just go right for the championship immediately,” Jones said.
Jones believes taking the best and toughest fight possible, which would for sure be facing the winner of Miocic vs. Ngannou 2, is something that always brings the best out of him.
“These heavyweights are way more intimidating than the light heavyweights,” Jones said.
Jones Believes Best Fighters Bring Out Best in Him
Jones told Heavy the idea of fighting for the UFC heavyweight championship in his next fight is something that has already brought the best out of him inside the gym, and he believes it will do the same thing for him inside the cage on fight night.
“I feel like when my back is against the wall the best version of myself presents myself,” Jones said. “Whether it was the second DC fight or the second Alexander Gustafsson fight or even the first Alexander Gustafsson fight…when my back is against the wall, a heightened version of myself comes out.”
Jones is excited about the prospect of facing either Miocic or Ngannou.
“You know, when your options are only Francis or Stipe, there’s a feeling of ‘now or never’, there’s a feeling of ‘go big or go home’,” Jones said.
Jones is arguably the most decorated fighter in UFC history, but he becomes an even more dangerous competitor when he’s in tough fights against the best and most destructive fighters on the planet.
“When I have that feeling, I train hard and with a different level of focus, drive, and determination,” Jones said.
So don’t be surprised to see his next fight be for the UFC heavyweight championship.
“Good fights come out of me, usually my best performances,” Jones said “I’m excited to be nervous about these guys because they’re going to drive me into an obsession to work hard and to reach a heightened level of faith.”
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