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Jon Jones on explicit UFC 182 promotion: 'A lot of people want me to be the bad guy'

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

ALBUQUERQUE, NM -- By now it's pretty clear the promotional angles for UFC 182 differ greatly from those of most other major UFC pay-per-views.

The biggest culprit for that is the chain of events that took place in early August, when a scuffle between light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier tumbled off the stage in the MGM Grand, then continued in expletive-laden form as the two bickered across a live (but assumedly off-the-record) television signal for a majority of the afternoon.

All those infamous one-liners, the death threats, amusing comebacks and references to female anatomy, all those are now a fixture of UFC 182's slick promo packages. And for Jones, the UFC's pound-for-pound best who effectively gets his "fake" typecast reinforced throughout the clips, it has to be strange considering that everything the UFC is now peddling was never supposed to hit the airwaves in the first place.

"I was definitely confused by them doing that," Jones admitted to MMAFighting.com. "Especially them using the part, ‘I'll kill you,' when I said that. It was definitely, I thought it was a little... it was different for them to use that footage. But you know, I said it, and I just kinda own up to it. I haven't really made a stink about it, because it is what I said. I wasn't expecting it to get out there, but it did.

"And you know, it was a lesson well learned for me. Be careful what I say. I definitely would never like to say something like that on live television just for the sake of young kids and some of my Christian fans and things like that. You know, that is who I am, and it just kinda got brought to the light."

While it may seem like an odd angle for the UFC to take, painting one of its biggest and most well-known stars in an awfully unsavory light, it's hard to dispute its effectiveness. When Jones and Cormier meet on Jan. 3 in Las Vegas, NV, it'll likely be on one of the grandest stages the UFC has seen in recent memory.

And the grander the stage, the grander the paycheck. So while Jones may not be thrilled with the UFC's decision, he understands the broader angle at play.

"At the end of the day, it's good material and it's great entertainment," Jones said.

"It's just easy to paint me as the instigator," he added. "It changes the storyline. I think a lot of people want me to be the bad guy, so it seems like the media has kind of painted me to be the bad guy. And I'm okay with that. I'm comfortable with that. Ultimately I know that as long as I win, as long as I have a great team and family, and life is great, I'm coming up in the world, it doesn't really matter if I'm the good guy or the bad guy. Every actor has his phases. Artists change their names. Fighters change their names in different stages of their career. So you know, I'm the bad guy right now for this storyline and I'll play the bad guy."

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