Shortly after Jon Jones (Pictured) captured the light heavyweight crown in March, he became the UFC’s unofficial golden boy. It wasn’t a moniker he was looking to obtain because it typically attracts haters by the droves, which causes his every move to be thoroughly examined underneath MMA’s harsh microscope.
From his perceived fake persona, to his disdain for signing replica belts, to his alleged spying, and so on, “Bones” is actually thankful for his detractors because they have helped bring him back down to earth.
“I’m actually happy that I’m starting to have image flaws and things like that,” Jones admitted. “There was a conversation I actually had with my manager. He said, ‘Jon, you’re doing everything right. It’s kind of like you’re the UFC’s golden boy.’
“I don’t want to be the UFC’s golden boy. I don’t want to be the future. I don’t want to be the guy who can’t make mistakes or can do no wrong or the guy who can’t swear in an interview. I’m just me. I’m just a snotty-nosed 24-year-old who got good at fighting and now everybody cares about what I say.”
When any celebrity achieves a certain level of success, they’re going to garner more than their fare share of criticism – whether it’s warranted or not. It’s just how the world has operated since the dawn of time. However, the art of hating can be broken down rather simply as far as Jones is concerned.
“You’re going to have 10 fans that are always with you no matter what you do,” Jones shared. “You’re going to have a big percentage of people who aren’t with you, and sometimes they like you and sometimes they don’t like you because of what you’re saying and how you’re being.
“Then there are going to be 10 people that hate you no matter what you do.”
Jones’ popularity has taken a significant blow heading into tonight’s title defense against Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Rampage publicly put Jones and his manager on blast for supposedly planting a rat in his camp to relay top secret information to them. Although Jones is the reigning champ and a whopping 6-to-1 favorite to retain his crown, he received a thunderous chorus of boos when he tipped the scales during Friday’s weigh-ins.
“I never asked to be called the future,” Jones said. “I never asked to be called this and that. Everybody else is putting all these tags on me. I’m just being me. The people that find me cocky now or arrogant or say this or that, I’m actually grateful for the negativity in my career.
“No matter how bad it may seem while it’s happening, it all goes away. This whole ‘Spygate’ issue, the day it happened it was annoying. Now it’s just like, ‘Oh, whatever.'”
Jones looks to shake his golden boy label, while retaining his gold belt Saturday at UFC 135. The 205-pound title affair will headline this evening’s pay-per-view broadcast.