It’s been over a week since Internet geeks took what UFC light heavyweight Jon Jones said of Ryan Bader and twisted his observations into something completely different. What resulted was the perception he had finally hopped aboard his own hype train and become just another young egotistical superstar.
While most believe he has every right to strut his stuff as if he’s The Next Big Thing, Jones has never popped his collar in such a fashion and is extremely disappointed how things have played out.
“I believe in the martial arts way and carrying yourself in a certain manner and never disrespecting your opponent,” Jones told Yahoo! Sports. “I’m not the type of person who would ever talk badly about another fighter and it’s really bothered me to see what has happened and how I’ve been portrayed.”
It all started when Jones appeared on HDNet’s Inside MMA. He was asked about a proposed bout with Bader, who had just posted an uneventful unanimous decision over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira to bump his record to a perfect 12-0. Jones was quick to give Bader props, but also thought his wrestling and cardio were “exposed.”
Although Jones’ observations weren’t anything anyone with a pair of eyes and a mouth couldn’t have made, or already did, it came across as arrogant and cocky when coming from the skyrocketing stud.
“It was a great fight to watch,” Jones said of Bader’s win at UFC 119. “I thought Ryan Bader was exposed a bit as far as his wrestling ability. Nogueira not being a wrestler and considering the fact that Nogueira was able to stuff a lot of his takedowns, it was very interesting for me to watch. But I respect Ryan Bader as an opponent. I respect that he’s never lost a fight. I am up for the challenge and I’m excited by the challenge.
“You have to be really good to do what he’s done. Ryan Bader is an excellent fighter who has accomplished a lot and deserves everything that is coming to him now.”
One of the most appealing characteristics about the 23-year-old has been his ability to remain humble while excelling in such a machismo sport. Not many would go out of their way to clarify the misinterpretation of his comments, especially since Jones will likely back-up all of his claims come UFC 126, but he isn’t your average cat.
Make no “Bones” about it, Jones doesn’t need to smack-talk to sell a fight. His game is already box-office as is.