Paul Abell-US PRESSWIRE
Long before he became the UFC light heavyweight champion and one of the best fighters in the world, Jon Jones was trying out for The Ultimate Fighter, just looking for a chance. Dana White refuse to give him one, and for good reason.
Yesterday we passed along a story from Chael Sonnen that he was asked to be on the cast of season one of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) back in 2005 when the show was on Spike TV. Considering the source and the lack of confirmation from UFC officials, it seemed the number one light heavyweight contender may have been fibbing.
Now, here's a story from Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones on his past experience with TUF. According to "Bones," he once tried out for the show but was shut down by UFC President Dana White himself.
But he had a good reason to turn the future legend away:
"I tried out for 'The Ultimate Fighter' back when I was 20 years old. I remember making it through the first round and then approaching a table to grapple for the second round and having Dana - I think himself, I remember him being at the table - saying, 'Man, you're too young. You're 20 years old, and you have to be 21 to apply for this show, but we're going to let you roll anyways. But you can't go much further than this.' I was like, 'Alright.' I was rolling and having a great time, and that was it. That was the end of the scenario."
Why do you have to be 21 to get into the house? Alcohol. And that makes perfectly good sense.
It didn't make a lick of difference in Jones' career and may have even helped him. After all, he was talented enough to find his way into the UFC anyway and has since put together one of the most impressive strings of wins in the history of the sport.
He's been so good, he was asked to come back as a coach before his next title defense against Sonnen in April of next year in New Jersey. That's surreal for him:
"It's kind of surreal to me to know that just four-and-a-half years ago I was trying out for the show, and then to be on the show as such a young coach is just like, 'Man, we're doing things right.' I said that to my manager. I said, 'We're doing it. We're doing things right.' It's just surreal to be a guy who was rejected from the show and now be the coach."
Jones is indeed a coach, who will go opposite Sonnen on FX early next year for season 17 of the long running reality program.