With UFC 159 set to pop off at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., on Sat., April 27, 2013, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) held a special pre-fight media day at Madison Square Garden in the heart of New York City.
See the video here.
Jon Jones, Chael Sonnen, Michael Bisping, Alan Belcher, Roy Nelson, Cheick Kongo and promotion president Dana White were all on hand, fielding questions from the media, including your friends right here at MMAmania.com.
I spent the majority of my time with "Bones," who gave a lot of insightful, long answers that seemed to be unrehearsed. For better or worse, he finally seems to be growing into his role and not trying to be someone he isn't.
I asked him this and he affirmed that he was being a bit "fake" in the past and people seemed to see through it, but he's attempting now to not be as phony, trying to be the "perfect posterboy" and not trying to stand for more than he is. He actually is an "idiot at times" (his words), so it kind of reinforced that he should try to be a better person and role model.
"Glad he didn't win the motorcycle," he's "too irresponsible" and has had "more than his share of tickets over the years."
Jones was asked if was able to get across much of himself while filming The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 17. Jon felt that he was able to show people he could be a bit goofy while still being serious. "His swag" and him being him. He was also "very happy with the editing of TUF" because he said a lot of bad stories about the wild life in Vegas and that "UFC could ruin him right now if they wanted."
He currently weighs 216 (215 and a pound worth of breakfast) right now.
"Bones" refused to tell us where he plans on meditating this time, but he probably won't be going back to the scene of his crime-fighting in Patterson.
Chael hasn't "evolved much," people wait for him to shoot the double and Jon plans on maintaining his perfect takedown defense.
Jones gave a lot of technical information that he seems to have picked up on Sonnen through film study. He mentioned patterns of sides that he likes to pass on, the way he positions his hands, how he likes to grab on takedowns, etc. He definitely sounds like someone who's done his homework for a fight many think is a bit of a squash match.
In a recurring theme, no one -- Jones, Dana, Kongo, etc. -- are pleased about the continuing nonsense that's happening here in New York regarding the regulation of MMA.
Jon thinks Sonnen realizes he's mismatched and is okay with him losing on Saturday, and that the stuff Chael has said here and there is showing signs of weakness, which is something that Jones hates doing. He called himself the "master of not showing weakness."
Jon feels that Sonnen has three sides: the fight side, the normal gentleman side and the fight promoter side. He only takes the fight side and the gentleman side seriously. His line of "I want to hurt him so bad" that he said to Dana was just "BS," and he said it to him because he knew Dana wanted to use it.
The only thing he got upset about was a line about Brazilian kids in poverty, which he thought "wasn't funny at all" and a poor taste thing to say.
He went out of his way to say that Sonnen is not racist (he has a black coach, trains with Yushin Okami), just that he's a white American guy and said something that probably should've just been said among his white buddies. He "says stuff to black friends on his own that he doesn't say in public" and "everyone is a little racist behind closed doors."
In the Rashad Evans fight, he had trained to fake a jab and throw a hook, but Rashad was moving and grabbing the hand in such a way that it left the elbow open. He had tried it once in the Jackson fight and it failed, and hadn't expected to try it again, but the opening was there.
Jones noted instances from a bunch of other fights where Sonnen had been taken down by other people (Anderson Silva, Demian Maia, Dan Miller, etc). That again does show that he's watched a lot of tape on Sonnen.
On Daniel Cormier: he fought very well against Frank Mir, but shouldn't be making statements unless he's performing at a very high level.
On Rashad Evans: he's over the hill, or just isn't training very hard and hasn't hit the top of the hill yet. Blackzillians isn't a good place to be for him, since the coaches are his buddy and he's the head honcho -- not the coaches. He likened Evans leaving Jackson's to Mike Tyson losing Cus D'amato.
Jones feels that if MMA hadn't happened, he'd probably have been a very good boxer -- he simply doesn't have the hand-eye coordination to play football or basketball. Can't catch and can't throw, but he has good timing and rhythm.
He hadn't heard the interview about the women's group lobbying with the Las Vegas Culinary Union in regards to MMA being barbaric, misogynistic, etc., so he wisely gave a "no comment" on that one.
Unlike Matt Mitrione, who's "terrible" for what he said, and that Fox is a "strong person." Mitrione needs to "shut his mouth" and people should "try to treat each other right." Also, "Meathead" is "not worthy" of fighting Jones at heavyweight, and if and when he moves up, he'll fight someone more credible.
More on that here.
Jones hasn't seen Fox fight and doesn't know enough about the science to have an informed opinion.
Jones and Phil Davis are friends, but he knows they're going to fight at some point. They've known each other through the wrestling community, but he wants to have a positive relationship with the "Martian Manhunter."
And there you have it.
For more on Jones media day appearance, check out his UFC 159 staredown against Sonnen here.