Jon ‘Bones’ Jones signed with the UFC in 2008 and with a 6 – 0 record. His first fight in the brand was in August of that year at UFC 87 and with the match Jones stood his first win senior circuit; a unanimous decision victory over Andre Gusmao.
The win capped off a remarkable year for Jones and one that saw him take seven victories in six different promotions and all in a mere five months. Further, he did it all as a novice fighter that had literally just taken up the sport of MMA. In short, Jones blew threw everything that was put in his way and has, for the most part, continued unencumbered down the path toward seizing his current light-heavyweight title.
At 26 years old and 19 – 1* (DQ from referee Steve Mazzagatti in one of the worst calls in the history of the UFC) in the promotion and a six time defending champion, Jon Jones is everything that the promotion could ask for and more, and resultantly, should probably be the face of the brand. However, that’s not the case; at least not as Jones sees it.
As Bones stated in an interview with Bloody Elbow, he feels that the brand isn’t “pushing” him as much as they could and that instead, the franchise appears to favor or push, women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey. As to why this might be the case, the champ puts it down to (his) not always being a company man.
As Jones put it:
"We don't always see eye to eye with the UFC, so I don't know if they are always necessarily pushing me and whether that's a smart idea on their end or not, who knows? I do know that they are pushing Ronda Rousey really hard, and she's gotten a lot of great opportunities. I don't know what they're going to do, but I'm pushing myself all the time so, I'm not really worried.
I know that I'm a lot different from some of the guys from the past. Guys like Chuck Liddell, and guys like Matt Hughes that would just get up and do anything, anytime, and never voice their opinion. I'm trying to change a lot of things in the game. Making sure the fighters are being respected, making sure our own brands are being respected, things like that. We just don't always see eye to eye on everything, either way it works out."
As to whether or not Jones is a company many is probably a question of one’s point-of-view.
To some and possibly even UFC President Dana White, Jones might come across as a prima donna and a fighter that worries too much about his record, and one that’s been unwilling to take every fight put in front of him. Of course and most famously, Jones turned down a fight with Chael Sonnen for UFC 151. Subsequent to that, the event was canceled (a promotion first) and many, including White, blamed Jones for the cancelation. Of course Jones and his fans saw the situation differently, that Jones had turned the fight down because Sonnen didn’t deserve the title shot.
Of course the other POV on Jones is that he’s simply the best fighter that many have ever seen. He has defeated champion after champion and rarely even been bested in a round, and what some view as ego, his fans let pass as nothing more than confidence.
Regarding the brand pushing Rousey over Jones, the argument might be made. However and the truth be told, the bulk of that which has flowed Rousey’s way has been due to her own hard work and nothing more. The movie roles that have been offered to her have been exactly that, offered to her and by third parties, and not handed to her by the promotion. On this point, Jones would have no case. Further, as Jones has his own deals with companies like Nike and Gatorade, he really doesn’t have much to complain about.
On this subject, fans are probably apt to think that the champ is doing more than well financially speaking, both in and out of the UFC, and as such, Jones should just be happy for Rousey and the success that she’s achieved.