Have you heard about how ridiculously nasty that Jon Jones is? After witnessing the future UFC light heavyweight champion’s destruction of veteran Vladimir Matyushenko, seats aboard Bones’ bandwagon sold out quickly. Unfortunately for fanboys across the globe, Jones won’t be behind the wheel.
“To be honest, [the expectations] really do bother me,” Jones admitted after collecting his 11th victory in 12 tries. “It makes me really nervous sometimes. I was starting to beat up myself and say, ‘OK, not only do I need to win this fight, but I have to impress people and look spectacular.
“Like (WEC champ) Jose Aldo, he came out and every fight was so sweet. Man, he doesn’t have a bad fight. I was starting to give myself that same type of pressure.”
Well, you know what they say about pressure, right? It either busts pipes or makes diamonds, and this dude’s future is bling blinging brighter than any MMA fighter that has come before him. Despite his vicious game and beastly physique, the 23-year-old is able to compartmentalize the unprecedented hoopla by remaining a kid at heart.
“You saw me go in there before the fight making jokes and trying to have fun,” Jones said of his pre-fight ritual. “That’s me psyching myself out to try and relax and try and have fun. This is the game I signed up to play. Just staying relaxed in the Octagon and remembering to have fun. That’s the key, I feel.”
In the look-at-me-now world professional sports has become, it’s refreshing a youngster understands exactly what’s at stake. Not only is he smart enough to seek advice from those more experienced, he’s humble enough to heed their words of wisdom.
“I talked to my mentors and my coaches, and they’re like, ‘Hey, Jon – listen. You do this for yourself. You lose a fight, all this media and all this hype train is going to be done, so don’t even worry about the train. There is no train. You do this for your family, and you do this for yourself. Mainly, you do this to have fun.’
“Another big thing is all my teammates are in their 30s and late 20s, so they check me when they see anything going on,” Jones said. “If I miss a practice or something, there’s somewhere there always going, ‘Where were you this morning?’ I have a lot of people that steer me in the right direction.”
While most peeps his age are dumbfounded if you were to ask them what their future entails, Jones has his sights set squarely on becoming MMA’s G.O.A.T. That might be a good thing because the way the Bones Express is steamrolling, anything less may be unacceptable. Just don’t hate on Jones for it.
Remember, he’s not even a passenger.