UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones remains one of MMA's most polarizing figures. As of Aug. 31, the sport's unquestioned pound-for-pound king became the longest-reigning title holder in the division's history, but Jones' Hall of Fame credentials haven't always translated into fan adoration. Routinely introduced to a chorus of boos, Jones seems to enjoy a strange existence as an unwilling villain.
Monday, UFC commentator Joe Rogan attributed much of the criticism Jones receives to racism.
"I don't know why Jon is not more loved or popular than he is," Rogan said on his podcast. "I don't understand it. In my opinion, I will never miss a Jon Jones f***ing pay-per-view. I've heard people say, 'Oh, he's cocky. He's this and [that].' I wonder what the f**k is going on with that and I'm going to throw this out there, I'm just going to say it: I wonder how much of it is racism. I really do.
"You know why? Because I think they look at him as this cocky black guy and I think a lot of people have an issue with that. I think that if he was a white guy and he was doing the same thing, a la a Chael Sonnen, I think he would be way more popular. Chael was never the successful athlete that Jon is, but I think Chael was way more successful as a promoter than Jon is. Jon has not been nearly as cocky or outwardly braggadocious as Chael was."
Everyone from media to fans to fellow fighters seems to have their own take on Jones' reputation. Most of Jones' marquee wins came at the incredible expense of fan favorites like Mauricio Rua, Quinton Jackson and Lyoto Machida. Jones was also blamed for the cancellation of UFC 151 after refusing to face Sonnen, who offered to step in last minute and replace an injured Dan Henderson.
"I just always found it odd when everybody would get upset at him and say that they didn't like that 'he's cocky.' He's 25 and he's the UFC's light heavyweight champion. He's the youngest ever UFC champion. He destroyed Shogun [Rua] to win the title and I mean destroyed. He threw a flying knee and hit Shogun in the chin five seconds into their fight. I mean, Jon Jones is a motherf***er. He's a motherf***er, but for whatever reason people have had an issue with that. I know I'm going to get a bunch of hate tweets. 'F**k you and your f***ing bulls**t. What do you got? White guilt? Calling out racism?'
Rogan has taken flak this week for mocking professional wrestling on a Sept. 4 episode of his podcast and joked that he expected a similar backlash for his comments regarding Jones.
"I'm probably going to get an equal amount from 'the Aryan race,' mad at me for defending Jon Jones, 'The cocky negro.' I really think there's something to that. I think people want a guy who is so physically gifted and young and brash and black and rich, they want him to have more humility or fake humility, as it were. I think Jon's trying that a little bit and that's one of the reasons Daniel Cormier was like, 'You are so fake.' Cormier was saying that to him because I think he's trying to counteract how people feel about him."
Jones defends his title to Cormier Jan. 3, 2015 at UFC 182 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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'Hard to respect.' Anthony Johnson goes into further detail about Alistair Overeem's training incidents. 'Maybe he's changed, but as soon as I heard that he hurt Jon Jones and where he kneed Andrei Arlovski, I was like, ‘Damn that s**t sounds familiar.'
Fight Motion: UFC Fight Night - Jacare vs. Mousasi.
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Luke Rockhold (@LukeRockhold) September 9, 2014
Rematches are dumb. #ufcfightnight
Don't be scared homie #ufcfightnight
Make it happen.
@joerogan i'm in America now I want to be on your show let's go— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) September 9, 2014
The day after the day after pic.twitter.com/sNe9bsAg91— Peggy Morgan (@peggymorganmma) September 8, 2014
Tara LaRosa (@TaraLaRosa) September 8, 2014
Thanks to my fans for all the support. Now it is time to focus on the new challenges ahead. I will be back soon. http://t.co/wxp0jEuL4e— Gegard Mousasi (@mousasi_mma) September 8, 2014
Get drunk at Chili's for a good cause this time.
This Friday Me and Joe"Daddy"Stevenson will be bar-tending at Chili's in Victorville, Ca Raising money for St. Jude's pic.twitter.com/Hbcue5UMC6— Cub Swanson (@CubSwanson) September 8, 2014
Announced yesterday (Sept. 8 2014)
Yan Cabral vs. Naoyuki Kotani at UFC 179
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day comes via MikeMorganMMA.
KO specialist Jimi 'Posterboy' Manuwa (14-01-0) makes his much anticipated return to the Octagon when he faces Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua (22-09-0) in a five round contest at UFC Fight Night 56 on 8 November in Ginásio Municipal Tancredo Neves, Brazil.
Following his loss to Alexander Gustafsson he took a well earned pause in his regimen to allow himself to regroup his thoughts and battle plan before going back to the gym to turn his attention to Mauricio Rua. Manuwa, who considers Rua as something of an icon, patiently waited for Rua to recover from his fight with Dan Henderson. Rua, currently ranked number nine in the light heavyweight division was worth the wait. "In the top ten of the division it's the only fight that makes senses at the moment. He's ranked higher than me, he's a notable opponent. Everyone else in the top ten are fighting each other. I don't have any idols but I will say he was, at one time, one of my favourite fighters and I've always wanted him to win when he fought. I believe a win over him will put me one fight away from being back in title contention."
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