Apr 21, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Jon Jones before fighting Rashad Evans in the main event and light heavyweight title bout during UFC 145 at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Paul Abell-US PRESSWIRE
Many have stated it could be in the best interest of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight champion, Jon Jones, to embrace the role of ‘villain' following the massive amounts of ‘hate' and ‘disapproval' the young phenom has received following the cancellation of UFC 151, and just run with it.
After all, it has worked in the past with such fighters as Brock Lesnar and Josh Koscheck. For the most part, they accepted their roles as the 'bad guy' and have gone on to enjoy a fair amount of success, fame and money, too.
Jones, on the other hand, isn't embracing that role because as he says, he isn't a bad guy, despite recent popular belief.
Being one of the biggest stars in the UFC and landing high-profile endorsements, Jones wants to be known as an inspiration to other people and help the sport of MMA grow further. Qualities he says a villain does not possess.
Check out Jon's comments from the UFC 152 conference call, as well as clarifying once again why he turned down the UFC 151 fight against Chael Sonnen, after the jump:
"I haven't embraced the role of being a villain because I'm not a bad person. For all the people that think I'm cocky, if you really listen to what I talk about, If you talk to me about fighting, you may just hear something that's a bit arrogant. Right now, I train so hard to not even get hit, let alone lose a fight. I love this sport so much that I owe it to myself to think of myself in the highest regard. I'm not going to apologize for a being a little full of myself when to comes to MMA. You've got to be full of yourself , you have to be your biggest critic to master your abilities and speak highly of yourself. I'm not sorry about that slight arrogance as a mixed martial artist. As a person, I'm the nicest person ever to everyone that's met me. I'm the nicest person to people. I'm like the nicest person ever. I know that for a fact. I'm comfortable with that. I'm not gonna embrace the role of a villain because I'm not a villain. I'm going to be that guy that tries to inspire people and make the sport better. I am never going to embrace the villain role because that's not who I am as a person."
Jones went on to say that he understand he is still young in the game, referring to himself as a "snotty-nosed" dude that will make mistakes and says what he feels.
Now that time has passed since the cancellation of UFC 151, Jones says he is ‘over' the drama and despite their recent back-and-forth, he is ready to move forward on team Dana White and the UFC:
"You know what? I'm over it. I really am. I'm actually getting more and more excited to talk to Dana and get this behind us. The UFC is an awesome brand but in this situation I had to stand up for myself and do what was right. But at the same time, me holding a personal beef against Dana gets me nowhere. He's still my boss at the end of the day and he has every right to express how he feels. He has freedom of speech. I said some things about the way I feel about how Dana handled the situation. I also think the fans are kind of using their minds a little bit and realizing it truly wasn't my fault. That I'm not a UFC executive. Dan Henderson got hurt, that's what happened. They asked me to put my livelihood on the line, to put my belt on the line. I turned it down like many smart champions would have done. Think about it: Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao. If Pacquiao gets hurt, you think he would fight [Miguel] Cotto last minute? No. No one would've done it. No one. And the guys who say they would've done it? They're not me, I guess. But anyways, I'm over it. I'm ready to move forward with Dana. I think me and Dana being on the same team -- me being on the same team as the UFC and not being one of these nemesis-type athletes -- is going to get us very far. Me as an individual athlete and the UFC in having a mainstream athlete, a guy that's trying to break down walls to mainstream America. I can't do that having a problem with the UFC. So I'm totally over it, ready to talk to Dana and get past this."
Though he is willing to be part of White's team, he still doesn't think twice about his decision to not take a fight with Chael Sonnen:
"I've said it before, as far as the lesson that I learned, and that is a legit message , that at the end of the day, people are going to do what right for themselves. I did what was right for my family. I do acknowledge the fact that a lot of people sacrificed their time. The UFC production crew, to create commercials, a lot of people put their time into this and the event never happened. I acknowledge what happened, but at the same time I had to do what was right for myself, for my family, for my brand. Dana White did what was right for himself, you know, he really put the blame on a lot of people and no one's ever really brought up the conversation of who really made the decision. Everyone is just ignoring, it's like the world is just afraid to confront the guy about it and say 'Dude you canceled it, not Jon Jones.' He did what was right by himself by really blaming a lot of other people around him, I did what was right for myself by not doing it. That was the lesson ultimately learned by me. At the end of the day, people are gonna do what's right for themselves. It's natural human emotion to survive. That's what we both did. Nobody's giving him crap and I didn't take the fight."
UFC's head honcho, Dana White, stated that he and "Bones" will have a face-to-face meeting next week in Toronto when the two will be in town gearing up for UFC 152 in what will be Jon's attempt to defend his title for the fourth consecutive time against Vitor Belfort.
Anyone expect anything less than rainbows and sunshine after their meeting?