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Jon Jones: ‘No man can hit me as hard as life hit me’

Jon Jones shares his thoughts on the past five years of chaos leading into his title defense against Anthony Smith at UFC 235.

After an extremely rocky five years that saw him suspended twice for drug violations and stripped of three UFC belts, Jon Jones is back. Who knows for how long given his past luck, but next Saturday’s UFC 235 will be the second fight since his most recent 15 month USADA suspension ended in November of 2018.

The first didn’t exactly go off without a hitch. The UFC had to pick up their entire New Years event and move it from Nevada to California after trace amounts of oral Turinabol metabolites kept showing up in Jones’ system. While experts agreed these were most likely the same metabolites Jones had already been punished for, holidays prevented the Nevada commission from clearing him for competition. So the event got shifted to Los Angeles on a week’s notice, and once again Jones was at the center of another clusterf**k.

He talked about the effect that incident and the others over the years affected him in a new interview with the LA Times.

“Every champion has his own stories, and mine have been difficult,” Jones told Lance Pugmire. “I’ve definitely made things harder on myself. But whether the adversity is self-inflicted or not, I’m just here for the challenge.”

2017 was an especially hard year for Jones, whose mother died over the summer due to complications from diabetes. And then at the end of July he defeated Daniel Cormier to regain the light heavyweight title, only to test positive for oral Turinabol soon after. The win: overturned. The belt: returned to Cormier. And Jones found himself staring down the barrel of a four year suspension.

“It was more crying than it was praying,” he said. “It was my rock bottom, and you know … there’s nothing you can really say. You’ve just got to let go, believe in his strength and believe that the sun will shine the next day — that a day like this is still possible.”

“I just needed to stay strong and let it all happen … it took a lot of strength. Today, I stand here knowing no man can hit me as hard as life hit me.”

Jones will test that theory as he pushes to “make up for lost time” with three fights in 2019, the first against Anthony Smith. Jones seems happy to clear out the contender field at 205, but did make a point of laying out his terms for facing Daniel Cormier for a third time.

“If the fans want to see it [at heavyweight] bad enough, the UFC will make it happen for me financially,” he said. “If they don’t, it will always be something that’s coulda, shoulda, woulda. Sending me against one of the best fighters ever, and making me sacrifice being smaller than him, they have to make it make sense financially. Because, at 2-0 against him, I have nothing to prove. The pressure’s on Daniel. I’m the GOAT of this generation. He knows it. And the fans know that.”

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