Jon Jones Believes UFC 151 Withdrawal Was a ‘Really Smart Personal Career Decision’

Jon Jones

(Great, so now he’s swagger-jacking Isaac the Bartender?)

If you can put down your haterade and suspend your disdain for just a bit today, we suggest listening to UFC light heavyweight Jon Jones discuss his decision to not fight Chael Sonnen on short notice at UFC 151, in a full-length interview with The MMA Hour. The full interview is after the jump.

Having had a week to reflect on it, and despite all the criticism that has come his way since he “murdered” this weekend’s scheduled event, Jones does not regret his choice to not fight Sonnen. “I actually think it was a really smart personal career decision,” the champ said.

Jones said that immediately after he got the offer he assembled all of his coaches to get their opinions. Jones said that while they all told him that they had “no doubt” that the light-heavyweight champ could win a fight against Sonnen, they also let it be known that the trash-talking middleweight was a totally different fighter than his original UFC 151 opponent Dan Henderson.

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“They honestly believed I could win the fight. They also said, ‘I want you to be aware of the fact that you prepared for a complete opposite style.’”

“Chael Sonnen is a southpaw. He has a completely different pressure, different takedowns. His ground and pound is different…He’s a completely different warrior,” Jones went on.

Jones, often criticized for supposedly being arrogant, said that he believes taking a fight with someone as good as Sonnen with virtually little notice would have, in fact, been arrogant of him. “I think it would have been extremely arrogant on my part to take the fight,” Jones said.

“To assume I could beat one of the top 10 fighters on the planet without preparing for him whatsoever — that would be extremely ignorant.”

As for the criticism that Jones should have been brave enough to fight Sonnen because Sonnen was willing to fight him on short notice, “Bones” explained that he and “The American Gangster” are in much different places in their respective careers. “[Chael has] absolutely nothing to lose,” Jones said.

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“I don’t think people realize Chael’s record in the UFC is 5-6…Why would I put a world championship on the line against a very dangerous opponent but a person who hasn’t even remotely earned the right to consider himself in the position to fight for a world title? That’s like hitting the jackpot and I refuse to be anyone’s jackpot.”

Jones maintained that he didn’t become the youngest champion in UFC history because he’s athletically gifted, but rather because of his meticulous preparation for fights. Jones said that he wasn’t good at fighting “because I’m this freak athlete with two brothers in the NFL…My secret to success is being so prepared.”

Listen to Jones’ full interview below to hear him discuss much more, including his current relationship with UFC President Dana White, being made to feel like a “piece of meat,” and the claim that he asked Dana to make Chael stop taunting him. (He denies it.)

– Elias Cepeda