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Brandon Vera, Jon Jones Okay With Top Prospect Hype

Brandon Vera and Jon Jones, headliners of the first UFC on Versus card, have more in common than just coming off a loss where they came out looking better than the winner. At one point of each light heavyweight's respective career, they have felt what's it like to be touted as a the future of the sport.

Vera, now 32, enjoyed the buzz four years ago when he ran through his opponents in the UFC. Jones, meanwhile, is a 22-year-old phenom who has drawn comparisons to Georges St-Pierre. During a media call Tuesday, I asked the two to talk about how expectations and hype have shaped them as a fighter.

Jones, who has competed in MMA for just under two years, said he's avoided the temptations of being a top prospect by focusing on his goal to become the UFC light heavyweight champion.

"Even though things are going fast," Jones said. "I'm just trying to stay focused and realize what my goals are."

Jones added that it helps that he feels he's improved his standing so quickly because of his hard work and determination.

"I started to realize that everything happens for a reason, and if I was a guy who didn't train hard, and I was a guy who didn't study, and I was a guy who wanted to go out and partied all the time, or not take things seriously, I would not be the main event in this upcoming fight," Jones said.

Jones also acknowledged that the hype he's been given, could just as easily be taken away.

"i know hype can be gone in a matter of a performance," Jones continued. "You can win a fight and not look good and now all the hype is gone. I try not to pay attention to that and look at the big picture."

For Vera, while hasn't exactly lived up to the hype, looking back he thinks he benefited in the long run from being pushed so soon into the spotlight.

"I really enjoyed being put under pressure," Vera said. "I enjoyed the pressure. I'm glad the way things have turned out so far. I like the bumps in the road. I enjoy learning from my mistakes and it's ... kept me humble. I'm not even going to say kept me humble. It made me humble. I had no choice but to become humble again. So I wouldn't change anything. I don't think I would."

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