Jon Jones (Pictured) puts his light heavyweight title on the line for the first time when he meets Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at UFC 135 on Saturday. However, before they have exchanged even a single blow, Jones believes the former title holder has already made him a better champ.
“I’m aware of what I’m up against. I’m aware of the character that I’m up against and I think it’ll make me better in the future,” said Jones during Monday’s conference call. “Not that I’m looking past him in any way, but I have opponents in the future that would be big talkers, as well. This is just educating me and making me a better champion.
“The only thing that bothered me initially was the spygate situation. It wasn’t necessarily the situation, it was the fact that fans actually considered the fact that I would, first of all, find someone to go to his camp and then pay someone to try to get Rampage to trust him. All this ludicrousness, I thought that was pretty interesting that the fans would think that I would do something like that.”
For those who don’t recall, Jackson claimed to have found a mole within his training camp that was leaking information to Jones. Both Jones and his manager, Malki Kawa, immediately denied any involvement.
The 24-year-old may be under the microscope now that he dons Octagon gold, but he believes he’s actually dealt with much worse before.
“I don’t feel as though it’s been the biggest media barrage I’ve been in so far,” Jones admitted. “Leading up to the [Mauricio “Shogun” Rua] fight, I had the pressure of preparing for such a well versed athlete like Shogun in six weeks time. That caused a lot of pressure for me. I also had a lot of pressure knowing that I was being involved with a UFC title fight for the first time of my career.
“The biggest thing was ‘In the Moment.’ Literally, they had a camera crew watching me train, watching me eat, I felt like I was being an actor the whole time.”
We’ll find out if Jones has dealt with the distractions as well as he believes this Saturday night when he puts the UFC light heavyweight crown on the line against Jackson inside the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.