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Midnight Mania! Jon Jones on Gustafsson fight: ‘I shouldn’t even have to fight for the belt’

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It has been a big week in mixed martial arts, with most of the focus being on the upcoming fight between Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov. However, Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson has also been rumored for the end of the year. Jon Jones opened up in a wide-ranging interview with ESPN that covered everything from checking himself into therapy to get help with depression, to his views on Daniel Cormier, to turning down the UFC 230 main event so he would have a full training camp to face Alexander Gustafsson. According to Jones, however, he shouldn’t have to face anyone to regain his title. The best person to explain how Jon Jones feels is Jon Jones, so here he is, in his own words:

Your 15-month suspension coincided nicely with the Nov. 3 show at Madison Square Garden. Were you asked to fight on that card?

It was offered to me, but by the time it was offered to me, I had about five or six weeks to prepare for the fight. I didn’t want my first fight back to be in a situation where I felt rushed, so I declined.

Are you fighting Alexander Gustafsson on Dec. 29?

As of right now, that’s something that is on the table and we are in talks, but it looks like I will be. Nothing is signed on my end yet.

Daniel Cormier is disappointed that he is going to get stripped of the 205-pound title. Do you understand where he is coming from?

I understand where he is coming from, and I understand his frustration, but I think he needs to look outside himself and see where I’m coming from in this situation. If USADA came to the conclusion that all the science points to this being a complete accident and unintentional, a part of me feels like the belt should be handed back to me. A part of me feels like I shouldn’t even have to fight for the belt against Alexander Gustafsson because I was proven innocent. In a way, the belt was never his in the first place. He was given the belt.

Do you care to fight him a third time?

No, I don’t. I already have all the marbles when it comes to Daniel Cormier. I’ve beaten him twice. This game has never been personal. What is personal to me is chasing greatness, not individuals. So in the case of myself and Daniel Cormier, he needs to fight myself one more time if he ever wants to be considered one of the all-time greats. I don’t need to fight him again to be considered one of the all-time greats. I have many more years to prove it.

What do you think when you saw him win the heavyweight title?

I was legitimately happy for Daniel Cormier. I felt like he was extremely deserving of becoming a UFC champion. I felt like for the first time, the night he won, he became an actual UFC champion. I think he was an extremely successful light heavyweight, but I don’t ever think he was the light heavyweight champion. I consider myself the light heavyweight champion since 2011, despite what happened. He joined a club of champions, and I was legitimately happy for him because from afar I know how hard of a worker he is, and I think the heavyweight championship couldn’t be in more deserving hands.

Any interest in fighting him for the heavyweight title?

Not really. Challenging Daniel Cormier for the heavyweight championship would be me making it personal, and it’s not personal. I’m not the one who went home crying the first and second times we fought. That was him. There’s nothing inside of me that wants to take things from him or make his life harder in any way. I just want what’s rightfully mine. He can have what’s rightfully his and we can all get along.

Jon also addressed his role in the infamous USADA “snitching clause”, denying outright that he snitched on anyone in MMA.

According to the arbitrator’s ruling, you received a 30-month reduction in your suspension because you cooperated in providing “substantial assistance” and information to help eliminate doping. As a result, you have been accused of “snitching.”

Did you snitch on anyone?

USADA asked me to do a lot of things throughout this case, but one thing I didn’t do is snitch on anybody. I definitely didn’t give up any information on anyone in the sport, nor do I know of anybody who’s doing these things in the sport. I think the whole snitching thing is pretty silly. It’s interesting to watch people jump to conclusions about things they don’t know what they are talking about. And that’s all I want to say about that topic.


Triggered voice: “Who is they, Derrick? WHO IS THEY??”

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They all look alike or nah

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