Now that Jon Jones is more established as a UFC champion, he’s developing a painfully corporate attitude. The UFC light heavyweight champion admitted last month that he doesn’t want to fight Anderson Silva because they each have too much to lose. Now he says that if he beats Dan Henderson on Sept. 1, he’s not really interested in a rematch with Lyoto Machida, who is set to face the winner.
“I don’t want to fight Lyoto Machida,” Jones said, according to ESPN.com. “He was my lowest pay-per-view draw of last year.
“No one wants to see me fight Lyoto Machida. I don’t want to fight Lyoto again. Lyoto is high risk and low reward.”
So Jon Jones is a professional fighter, which means his job is to fight whomever the UFC wants him to fight, but he doesn’t want to fight a good fighter if he’s not being paid enough to risk losing. I understand where he’s coming from in a business sense, but nobody wants to hear this crap.
Do you think Muhammad Ali became a living legend by managing his risks and opponents, or did he acquire fame by proclaiming that he was the best fighter ever and ready to pound anyone, anytime, anyplace? If Jones is a true champion who believes he’s unstoppable, then that’s the sort of thing he should be saying. Instead, he’s acting like he’s frightened to lose what he’s built. That’s the type of thinking that has made boxing a stale, uninteresting sport.
The beauty of the UFC is that fighters are constantly tested against the best opponents and their records aren’t padded. It seems like Jones would prefer to go down the Floyd Mayweather Jr. path of only facing guys he knows he can beat, and collecting as much money as possible each time out. That approach can make Jones a lot of money, but it’s not the attitude that makes legends.
The more you try to protect what you have built, the more it’s all going to come crashing down when you screw up. Jones already has had a taste of that. If he’s so concerned about creating interesting fights, then he should move up to heavyweight where he will finally be properly challenged.
H/T LBS contributor A. Hull
Photo: Paul Abell-US PRESSWIRE
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