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Jon Jones calls Floyd Mayweather's payday 'ridiculous in a good way'

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Steve Snowden

LOS ANGELES -- UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones watched Floyd Mayweather's dominant performance against Saul Alvarez on Saturday night in a way that only the best pound-for-pound fighter in one combat sport can watch another.

"His swagger, his work ethic shined through," Jones told reporters at a Monday media luncheon in downtown LA. "It's great to see a champion show his heart and his winning ways. It's great to see a champion get what he deserves. That really, really encourages me."

Of course, Jones also got a look at Mayweather's payday, one which underscored the boxing great's nickname of "Money," with a guaranteed minimum of $40.5 million: "It's ridiculous, in a good way," he said.

What you won't get from Jones, who defends his title against Alexander Gustafsson on Saturday night at UFC 165 in Toronto, is jealousy toward his pound-for-pound peer.

"Boxing has been around over 100 years," Jones said. "The foundation is set and the money is there. MMA is so new. You can't just expect to be paid, if we're going to be paid $40 million, what is the UFC going to make? Floyd is his own production. We're a fairly new sport. I'm grateful for the money I make. As a 26-year-old I could never imagine being in this position."

Of course, Jones wouldn't mind being paid Mayweather money. While MMA isn't at boxing's level in terms of the payouts to the superstar pay-per-view draws, Jones hopes to be able to help MMA reach such a level.

"I don't think money is the key to life, or happiness," Jones said. "Would it be nice? It would be great to be paid the way other athletes will be paid. Doing my part, paydays closer to that, hopefully I'll be the guy to get us there through hard work, longevity.

"Doing something you love, to make millions of dollar of doing it, it's an honor," Jones continued. "I don't want to come off ungrateful. I'm happy. I'm extremely happy. ... Hopefully we get there, hopefully I"m the one who gets us there. I'm not going to judge my happiness on someone else's accomplishments."