UFC commentator Jon Anik is one of those people who wish Jones the best of luck and hope he finally turns things around, but is also saddened to see the light heavyweight king waste his talent and disappoint those closest to him all over again. Jones has produced his fair share of legal issues over the past few years, including his 2015 hit-and-run incident and 2019 waitress fiasco, but that didn’t make it any easier to see the UFC legend stray off course earlier this month.
“It’s just sad – it’s sad, right?” Anik told MMA Fighting. “It’s embarrassing for his daughters I think mostly, they’re not getting any younger, and as they get older and as he looks like he’s turning over a new leaf or starting to turn the page and become an active champion for the UFC as he was doing late-2018 into 2019, it looked like maybe he was gonna be able to toe that straight-and-narrow, and obviously that was not the case. I think, for me, sad was just the emotion because I really do like the guy.
“If you’re only judging him based upon personal interaction, he’s basically been consistent and genuine with me since I met him in his hotel room in 2011, the day he foiled a robbery before beating Shogun to win the belt. That was the first time I met the guy, we’ve always had a good relationship. I think for me, I’m a girl dad, I see a father of daughters, it makes me very sad. It was hard to watch that officer cam footage, it really was. I just hope that he can somehow find it within him to turn the sadness and the anger into something positive.”
While Jones reached a plea deal to avoid jail time for his recent DWI arrest the UFC champion isn’t completely in the clear. Another slip up with authorities will surely have “Bones” doing some sort of time in jail (we presume). He’s been fairly lucky up to this point, but there is always an expiration date on good fortune.
In addition to his legal troubles Jones also has to play damage control over his UFC career. The 205-pound king was stripped of his title in 2015 and could end up experiencing the same fate in 2020 if the promotion has finally had enough of his out-of-cage troubles. Maybe UFC even decides to book a tantalizing title fight between former light heavyweight title challengers Thiago Santos and Dominick Reyes.
Luckily for Jones, he has a quality team behind him that can assist in his recovery. They’ve certainly been let down before, but Jones will need them more than ever if he wants to truly start fresh here in 2020.
“He’s got a good support system,” Anik said. “He’s got a team, you know I feel bad for that team that has stood by him and hasn’t necessarily reaped the rewards at times that they thought they would. I’m hopeful for Jon Jones, but he’s gonna have to put in the effort if he really wants to affect change.
“Sometimes you’ve got to bottom out to really change something, and I think he bottomed out a few days ago.”
At 32 years of age, Jones is entering a strange time in his MMA career. After dominating the competition for the past decade and cementing himself as one of the best of all time, opponents are really starting to close the gap in recent fights. Pair that up with legal battles outside of the cage and past issues with USADA and Jones quickly finds himself fighting a battle he can’t win.
The pound-for-pound king has tried to change a few things in the past in order to get his life back on track, but can he finally do it for good?