Last May, after overcoming some early knockdowns at the hands of Anthony Johnson, Daniel Cormier took Johnson down and choked him out in the third round, winning the vacant UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. It was vacant because a month earlier, Jon Jones had been stripped of the title due to his connection with a hit-and-run.
In an extended feature by Mike Bohn of Rolling Stone Jon Jones discussed his past struggles and current efforts to move past them; specifically, how he didn't take fighting as seriously as he should have why he is now.
"Pretty much my whole career I wasn't living like a champ. Fighters that look up to me would go out with me on weekends and see me get blackout wasted, weeks before a fight. Then they think, 'Jon Jones can do it. Maybe I can.'... That would lead somebody down the wrong path of thinking. That was the same thing I was doing."
And yet, Jones cavalier attitude never came back to haunt him. MMA is a sport that chews up and spits out even the most consummate of professionals but Jones is so preternaturally gifted that it didn't matter. Partying did not preclude him from becoming wildly successful. He was winning and he was making tons of money while doing it.
"I really started to get money, started to be able to afford to go out, to have a good time and buy people drinks. Growing up, I was poor. In college I was poor. I never had anything. Then I go from living in a basement to renting out a house. My life just started to change so fast. . . .I was never popular. . . . I became popular for the first time in my life, and I became obsessed with it."
Somehow Jones's biggest rival, a man whom he hates and who hates him right back, was able to do what coaches and teammates had failed to and motivated Jones to clean up his act.
Well, partially at least. He was arrested just last week for a parole violation stemming from a traffic stop in Albuquerque, New Mexico. But he was released a day later and the no further major repercussions seem eminent.
And aside from that Jones has been sober for months, complete tons of community service and court-mandated speaking engagements, and recently hired a driver to ensure no more future traffic issues. His recent arrest is still cause for concern however Jones admits that he is far from a finished product.
"I'm only at the doorstep of earning my second chance. Doing community service was court-ordered. That's not earning a second chance. Being sober when you're on probation isn't earning your second chance. I got a lot of proving to do. It's a matter of actions. It's about my effort. I feel like I have a lot more work to do."
5 MUST-READ STORIES
He's no bear. Khabib Nurmagomedov will now fight the debuting Darrell Horcher at UFC on Fox 19.
Sport killer. Greg Jackson is glad Jon Jones is staying focused on UFC 197 despite recent unpleasantness.
The definition of insanity. Conor McGregor's manager says McGregor is obsessed with his rematch with Nate Diaz.
Taking over Bellator too? Conor McGregor's SBG teammate James Gallagher signed with Bellator MMA.
Good job, good effort. WSOF drew 158,000 viewers last weekend on NBC Sports.
EXTRA CREDIT READING
***These are pieces that aren't essential news but I found enjoyable or otherwise interesting. They may be op-eds, fanposts, or articles from around the internet. I may also occasionally (and shamelessly) shill my own work from SBNation site BloodyElbow.
Short notice, long consequences. Andreas Hale of Sherdog.com discusses the implications of creating an environment where fighters are expected to take short notice fights against their own interests.
Foe to friend. Bloody Elbow's Connor Ruebusch writes a feature on Nicolas Dalby and the trials of journeymen in MMA.
I don't blame Miesha for wanting an easier fight and I think it is the right call by the UFC too. Far too many immediate rematches take place in the UFC. Let Holly get a win or rematch Ronda.
I would absolutely watch a buddy cop show starring Robert Whiteford and Kyoji Horiguchi.
If both men weren't such consummate professionals I would genuinely think they come to blows before UFC 199.
I'm not saying Weidman can't win. I'm not even saying he won't win. But he definitely isn't going 'to make it look easy.'
After reading the comments section the last few days I can tell some of you ruffians could use some good life advice from a legend of the game. Plus the fourth one cracked me up for some reason.
Max Holloway spinning back kicks his buddy, is a terrible friend.
If you haven't listened to Ian McCall's new podcast, you really should.
Excellent episode. Luke Thomas pays a visit which is always worth a listen.
Jason Floyd rocking a lot of interviews.
And so our saga from yesterday comes to an end. I can't tell if Ferguson is being genuine or tossing shade here but methinks Khabib Who Wrestles Bears is not afraid of El Cucuy in the slightest.
Beastin 25/8 is one of my favorite fight names and this is a dope thing to do for someone.
This is the guy stepping in to fight Khabib Who Wrestles Bears on short notice. He's a decent prospect and that punch is nice...but he is gonna get mauled.
Darrell Horcher knocking out E.J. Brooks in 21 seconds back at Bellator 77 on October 19th 2012. pic.twitter.com/vadY9870d0— Chamatkar Sandhu (@SandhuMMA) April 7, 2016
Safety first. Then teamwork.
Two men I would not seek a quarrel with.
While you are out there #TBTing your trip to the beach last summer Carlos Condit is talking about that time he almost murdered a guy while concussed.
Here's #TBT for ya... I took a hard shot at some point in this fight and I have no idea where I am or what was going on when this was taken. Hence the stupid look on my face. I just remember coming to in the locker room, covered in blood and asking my coach what had happened. He told me I had won by TKO, and that that was the 7th time I had asked and he had answered the same question... Good times in Japan
Bisping opting to post a photo with his eyes closed when he could have just taken another one is the bold move of the day.
I realize I've been putting up a lot of Sage stuff but it can't be helped. He is the most oddly fascinating fighter alive right now. Everything he does seems to be at once both tediously normal and bafflingly weird and I can't figure out why. Look, I'm not saying he's a hyper realistic robot built to mimic actual humans but I'm also not confident he can pass the Voight-Kampff test.
And so the long road to the rematch nobody really wanted begins. (I'm quietly hoping Diaz pulls out and Frankie or Aldo gets bumped up.)
Announced yesterday (April 7, 2016)
Cat Zingano (9-1-0) vs. Julianna Pena (7-2-0); UFC 200, July 9.
Khabib Nurmagomedov (22-0-0) vs. Darrell Horcher (12-1-0); UFC on Fox 19, April 16.
Ross Pearson (19-10-0) vs. James Krause (23-7-0); UFC: The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale, July 8.
Scott Askham (14-2-0) vs. Anthony Smith (25-11-0); UFC: The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale, July 8.
Jingliang Li (10-4-0) vs. Anton Zafir (7-2-0); UFC: The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale, July 8.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2010: Bellator 13 was held at the Seminal Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. The event featured quarterfinal bouts for Bellator's season 2 Lightweight and Featherweight tournaments. Notably, Georgi Karakhanyan crumpled Bao Quach with a brutal knee in the 1st round.
2007: The final Pride FC event ever, Pride 34: Kamikaze took place at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. The event was headlined by a Heavyweight contest between Jeff Monson and Kazuyuki Fujita which Monson won by rear naked choke.
The event also featured Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou's second massive upset in a row when he knocked Light Heavyweight contender Ricardo Arona out cold with a vicious uppercut and follow up kicks.
2001: Shooto: Wanna Shooto 2001 was held at Kitazawa Town Hall in Tokyo, Japan. It featured the second MMA fight of former Shooto Lightweight Champion and current UFC Featherweight Tatsuya Kawajiri as well as the MMA debut of former Shooto Featherweight Champion Akitoshi Tamura.
1992: UFC Bantamweight Taylor Lapilus was born.
1989: UFC Women's Bantamweight Milana Dudieva was born.
1983: Sixth-ranked UFC Light Heavyweight contender Ovince Saint Preux was born.
Think I missed a spot? Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.
Get the latest gear
- 2023 Panini Prizm UFC Factory Sealed Retail Blaster Box
- 2023 Panini Select UFC Factory Sealed Retail Blaster Box
- Islam Makhachev Walkout Jersey
- UFC Fanatics Single Glove Display Case
- 2022 Panini Donruss Optic Retail Blaster Box
- 2023 Donruss UFC Retail Blaster Box
- Miesha Tate UFC Authentic Plaque
- Brock Lesnar WWE Home Sweet Home Collage