Photo of Jon Jones by Ethan Miller via Getty Images.
Even if it means crossing the Hudson river.
"Bones" was good enough to give me a few minutes of his time following his appearance on Thursday night's (May 4, 2012) edition of "MMA Uncensored Live," the weekly mixed martial arts (MMA) show filmed inside the disemboweled TRL studio in the heart of Times Square.
Not much has changed.
I first met the lanky-but-lethal light heavyweight in early 2009, following his three round destruction of Ultimate Fighter (TUF) veteran Stephan Bonnar at UFC 94 in Las Vegas. When I asked him how it felt to go from six straight finishes to back-to-back decisions, he simply shrugged and conceded he was only at 10-15 percent of his true potential.
On Thursday night in Manhattan, he upgraded that estimate to 30 percent.
Even if his math is off by more than double that figure, it's still a frightening assessment from a champion who's close to cleaning out his division at just 24 years old.
Not that you'd ever notice.
Despite his newfound superstardom, Jones was still the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed phenom I first met in "Sin City." Even when the cameras were off and his manager was tugging at his sleeve, he was just as kind and affable the second time around.
It was certainly a far cry from getting trolled by "Rampage."
In addition to Iron Man being his favorite Avenger, here's what else Jones told me.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): Reports surfaced earlier today that your title defense against Dan Henderson is being targeted for Sept. 1 at a location to be named. What can you tell me about those plans?
Jon Jones: "That's news to me. I haven't even spoken to Greg about the fight or coach Winkeljohn. None of my coaches, actually. They know that I just want to be with my family. I just bought my first house and I am doing a lot of work on the house. I've just been a little busy back in the real world."
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): Is there an exit strategy for 205-pounds? Or does that come when the weight cut starts getting harder?
Jon Jones: "There isn't, there isn't. I think the strategy will be when I am simply starting to get too big or when there's not much competition left. The last weight cut was very easy. As I'm getting older, I am getting stronger which makes the cut slightly harder. But, I'm getting a lot more responsible, more mature, saying no to carbs and just making it easier for myself."
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): You're starting to change the way fighters approach sponsorships and personal branding. Is this a media persona or is what we see, what we get?
Jon Jones: "My personal brand is very important to me. That is something I think about quite often. I think that is why I do so much media. I think I put on a little bit of a media persona, but, that's who I am."
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): How does being sponsored by the UFC change your relationship with them as a promoter? Is there pressure now to act as an ambassador for MMA? You know, shake a lot of hands, kiss a lot of babies?
Jon Jones: "These guys let me live my life. I will come out whenever they ask me to do some type of media obligation, but at the same time, they understand that I work very hard for them and they give me my own space."
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): Because your rise to power has unfolded so rapidly, both fans and the media are still getting to know you both as a 'person' and as a 'personality.' Do you think, based on some of the pre-fight hype in your last couple of bouts that you are, perhaps, misunderstood?
Jon Jones: "I think in some ways I am misunderstood and other ways, you know, people just don't know me. They don't know me personally, so it's hard to judge someone over, maybe, 300 hours worth of footage that they can find on me, of me talking. Outside of that, you got 300 hours of footage and then you have my fights, outside of that, they really don't know me. I have had a pretty consistent fan base and a pretty consistent group of haters. It's just, it is what it is. It comes with the territory of being a winner. Being a winner, you go under a lot of people's light and some is good some is bad. Either way, they know who you are, they check your tweets and all that. So whether they hate you or love you, they are still there."
They are still there, and so is Jones.
That means unless "Hendo" can land one of his patented "H-Bombs" later this year, or Alexander Gustafsson keeps on winning and earns himself a title shot, "Bones" to heavyweight is not only likely, it's necessary.
After all, if you're a king with no one to rule, it's time to seek out new lands to conquer. That's the next logical step for a fighter who wants to emulate Alexander the Great.
Unless Jones retires at 30 to go play baseball.