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Jon Jones: I'm Only Thinking About Fighting Matt Hamill

At age 22, Jon Jones already has a 9-0 record as a professional MMA fighter, and he has big plans to improve that record to 10-0 on Saturday night when he faces Matt Hamill at the Ultimate Fighter Finale on Saturday night on Spike TV.

In an interview with FanHouse, Jones talked about the Hamill fight, why he uses YouTube to learn new martial arts techniques, and his relationship with his two brothers, both of whom play football at Syracuse. The full interview is below.

What do you think of Matt Hamill?
I think Matt Hamill is a very good person, I think he's good for the sport. As far as fighting Matt Hamill, I think he has a very strong wrestling base, and he's tough, and it's going to be a good fight.

You mention that you respect him as a person. Does that make it harder to fight him?
I don't ever, ever fight out of anger. I'm not feeling aggression or anger when I fight. I have a daughter on the way and I fight for her. When I look at the Octagon I'm looking at someone who's trying to take food out of my daughter's mouth, and who's trying to make it harder for me to pay my bills. That's what motivates me, not anger.

At the weigh-in before UFC 94, you got right up in Stephan Bonnar's face, and I was a little surprised by that: I thought it was a sign of disrespect, and that doesn't seem to be how you feel about Matt Hamill. What was that about with Bonnar at the weigh-in?
That was just about me trying to get a feel for Stephan Bonnar. I study fighters, and a lot of the best fighters are thinkers, not brawlers, and I was just trying to think about that fight. Also, I don't look my opponents in the eye at the weigh-in. I believe that looking your opponent in the eye is giving him your energy.

You said you study fighters. Who are the fighters you enjoy studying?
Muhammad Ali, because of his confidence in himself. In MMA, the fighters I admire are Fedor Emelianenko, Anderson Silva, and also Jose Aldo, who a lot of people don't know but I think is very impressive.

I've heard you spend a lot of time studying other fighters on YouTube.
That's absolutely true. When I was first getting interested in martial arts I had a coach who just focused on all the basics, and I wanted to learn more than just the basics and so I started looking for more advanced stuff on YouTube.

Now you're working with someone who is widely regarded as the best coach in all of MMA, Greg Jackson. What's he like to work with.
Oh, man. Greg is phenomenal. I had a workout where I was sparring with two of the best, Keith Jardine and Rashad Evans, and the next morning I was really tired and sore, and I wasn't really in the mood to work out, and all he had to do was say a few simple words to me and suddenly I was ready to go. To have a person who can change your whole mindset with a few words is awesome. He's an amazing martial artist.

It's interesting to me that you refer to him as a martial artist, even though he's a coach, not a fighter.
Greg is totally a martial artist. He doesn't teach me just to be a cage fighter, he teaches me to be so much more. He teaches me to be a champion and fight like a champion.

I know this is going to be your first fight with Greg in your corner. What do you think that will be like?
Well, what drew me to Greg is that I see coaches who yell and swear and I don't need that. Greg can calm you down. Greg is just a great person.

You didn't have a lot of sophisticated MMA training before you got hooked up with Greg, and yet when I saw you fight Bonnar I thought you showed off some of the best throws I've ever seen in the sport. Where did you learn those throws?
I had a great wrestling coach when I was younger and he taught me a lot of great things. He really helped me a lot, and he's still helping me. In fact, he's going to be in my corner against Matt Hamill, too.

So he and Greg will both be there?
Yes, Greg has the general game plan and all the fight knowledge but I also have a great wrestling coach and it's going to be great to have him there for me too. I also have a wonderful stand-up coach.

I also want to ask you about your two brothers. What have they meant to your athletic career?
My younger brother Chandler and my older brother Arthur both play for Syracuse University's football team. Chandler is a big guy and Arthur is a really big guy -- he weighs 297 -- and Arthur is going to be a first-round draft pick next year.

Since you're already a professional athlete and your brothers are still in college, do you give them any tips?
No, honestly, when you're playing college football you're basically a pro athlete. They don't need my advice.

Next year, when Arthur is a first-round draft pick, is he always going to buy dinner when you guys go out?
(Laughs) I sure hope so.

Back to your fight on Saturday: If you win, how close do you think you are to getting a shot at the light heavyweight title?
I try not to think about that. I'm only thinking about fighting Matt Hamill. Anything other than that just isn't even in my mind.

What kind of fight can we expect?
I think it's going to be great. I've had great training, I have a great corner and I'm ready for a big fight.

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