It’s become more and more apparent over the past few months that UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is growing increasingly comfortable with playing a role of “heel” going into his fights.
Jones was once a positive affirmation quoting choirboy, or as it would have seemed, during his meteoric rise to championship status, but now he’s an often awkward, polarizing, and seemingly arrogant champion who more often than not draws the ire of fans all over social media.
That’s just fine with “Bones,” and heading into his trash talk-fueled bout with Daniel Cormier in the main event of this weekend’s (Sat., January 3, 2015) UFC 182 from Las Vegas, he isn’t pulling any punches about his true feelings about, well, anything.
Speaking in a recent taping with CBS DC’s “Chad Dukes Vs. The World,” (via MMA Mania) Jones offered up his opinion that he hopes the newly signed former WWE champion Phillip “CM Punk” Brooks gets knocked out in his first octagon appearance:
“I just think it’s unfair for the people who have been working their tails off to earn this opportunity. That’s why I really hope UFC gives him a real opponent so we can watch him get knocked out.”
Apparently “Bones’” dislike of Punk’s situation stems from him watching his training partners go through the hardships of being a professional fighter while he was simply able to sign with the UFC on name recognition alone:
“Every day I’m at the gym watching these kids training. These guys have no money and they’re training their tails off, giving up everything to be a fighter. Living in the gym, eating turkey and peanut butter, bare minimum to chase this dream and then a superstar like him just gets to jump into the UFC just because he knows the right people and has a name.”
Jones may have a good point, and he’s hardly the first fighter to publicly express their disdain over Punk’s signing, as the outspoken Nate Diaz shared similar views prior to UFC on FOX 13.
While Jones only wants to speak up for the young fighters struggling to make a name for themselves, the manner in which he did may only serve to earn him more haters. That’s something that he’s undoubtedly used to by now, however, so Jones probably won’t let that get to him.
At the end of the day, he knows the allure and attention that professional wrestlers like Punk and Brock Lesnar bring to the UFC, so he understands their presence. “Bones” recounted his first WWE experience as proof:
“It’s gonna bring a lot of publicity. I went to my first WWE match this year and the enthusiasm and emotion on the fans’ faces; it was like they were watching real fighting in the UFC. I do have a respect for the influence of the WWE and the passion of the fans.”
UFC President Dana White said that the Punk would most likely be booked against another very inexperienced fighter in his debut, and for good reason. Even though he’s sure to be a massive draw in his first fight, that attraction wont last long if he gets knocked out in the first round.
Jones may want Punk to get knocked out, but it’s beginning to look like more and more fans (and fighters) are wishing the same thing about him this weekend. Will Cormier shut his mouth, or will Jones prove that he’s far and away the best MMA fighter on Earth?
Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports