When veteran voice of the Octagon, Bruce Buffer, bellowed the names of UFC 172 headliners Glover Teixeira and Jon Jones, the former was mercilessly booed while the latter was showered with cheers.
"Bones" slowly but surely alienated himself from some -- but not all -- of the mixed martial arts (MMA) fan base over the course of his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) career, which began with a unanimous decision win over Andre Gusmao at UFC 87 way back in 2008.
Well, most of it started with his championship title fight back in 2011, when he was signing autographs as the new light heavyweight champion, long before he even stepped foot inside the Octagon. Then he dismantled "Shogun" Rua -- a huge fan favorite -- and subsequently refused to sign any replica fan belts.
As far as sports go, those are the necessary ingredients when making a villain, even if Jones doesn't understand why he's so reviled in some circles. But that wasn't the case in the UFC 172 main event, which took place last Saturday night (April 26, 2014) inside the Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, Maryland.
From his comments at the UFC 172 post-fight press conference (watch it here):
"It was great to have the crowd on my side again. It has been a lonnnng time since I've had cheers. I figured it would be that way so I said let me really embrace this, let me really give this audience some entertainment. It was great. I was livin' it up. I figured Ray Lewis would be there, a lot of Ravens would be there, so I was just playin' it up and practiced that dance all day, and aced it, I hear. I haven't seen it yet. Ray was happy and yeah, I'm happy. The people of Baltimore, they still love Arthur and they still respect him a lot. I got a lot of respect and a lot of cheers, which made me feel amazing, I really do appreciate it. The boos I've learned to live with, but the cheers are so rewarding, to get some love and respect for once."
The dance in question was the "Squirrel Dance" made famous by Baltimore Ravens' linebacker Ray Lewis (see it here). As luck would have it, Jones' older brother Arthur was also a Raven -- who brought home a Super Bowl ring -- and is still adored in "Charm City."
And some of that love and respect "trickled down" to his younger sibling.
Jones was eating it up, too, and considering some of the abuse he's taken over the past couple of years, has probably earned it. Hopefully he captured some of the audio, because he can forget about hearing any like that in his next fight, especially if this happens.
For highlights of Jones' dominant win over Teixeira in the UFC 172 main event click here. News, notes and other items of interest from last night's pay-per-view (PPV) check out our live story stream here.