For a good part of nine years in his professional career, Jon Jones was the most dominant light heavyweight champion the UFC has ever seen. But towards the end of that run, people saw more of “Bones” vulnerabilities through lesser spectacular wins.
In 2020, Jones decided to relinquish the 205-pound title to finally give way to his long-talked-about transition to the heavyweight division. And in a recent conversation with SiriusXM, Jones gave a bit of insight on what finally drove him to make the jump.
“The fear was gone. I didn’t really fear these guys, and I wasn’t happy with my pay either.”
Jon Jones (@JonnyBones) shares what factors went into his decision to move up to HW w/@jimmysmithmma #UFC285
Source: Unlocking the Cage with Jimmy Smith pic.twitter.com/5eUxvS83bE
— MMA on SiriusXM (@MMAonSiriusXM) February 20, 2023
“I stopped studying footage as much. I started just looking forward to another day at the office. The fear was gone. I didn’t really fear these guys. And I wasn’t happy with my pay, either,” Jones told long-time MMA correspondent Jimmy Smith.
“I was starting to fight guys like Reyes who had been dreaming of fighting me, probably since college. And he was just relatively unknown to the general public.
“I just wanted more. I wanted to be nervous again. I wanted to have fear again.”
Jones’ heavyweight debut is now set for UFC 285 when he takes on Ciryl Gane for the vacant title. And on top of a new deal that’s supposedly made him the highest-paid heavyweight in UFC history, he seems much more content.
“I think fear’s healthy, and now we’re in this position. The heavyweight division has never been scarier. And I’m glad to be right in the middle of it.”
UFC 285 takes place on March 4th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
About the author: Milan Ordoñez has been covering combat sports since 2012 and has been part of the Bloody Elbow staff since 2016. He’s also competed in amateur mixed martial arts and submission grappling tournaments. (full bio)
About the author