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Jon Jones would rather be remembered as a ‘bad motherf*cker’ than ‘the GOAT’

Jon Jones (EL, MMAF) Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Jon Jones doesn’t put all that much weight behind the ever-present greatest of all-time debate in mixed martial arts, but he does know what he wants to be remembered as when all is said and done with the sport.

Speaking at Thursday’s UFC 232 conference call, the former UFC light heavyweight champion said that he hopes fans will herald him as a “bad motherf*cker” when they look back on his career.

Ahead of his rematch with Alexander Gustafsson next weekend in Las Vegas, “Bones” insisted that the discussion surrounding GOAT status is more of a popularity contest than an overview of athletes’ achievements.

“No, I don’t think being considered the best — I don’t think one fight makes you, one fight doesn’t make my career. It’s the journey, it’s not about one fight,” replied Jones when asked his thoughts on the being considered the greatest fighter of all-time.

“I feel like there will always be a debate about who is the best, whoever is the best is whoever is hot at the current moment. I feel like MMA fans are very quick to forget a lot of peoples’ accomplishments.”

Jones went on to cite fighters like Anderson Silva and Jose Aldo, who he believes who have been left out of the conversation of late despite their laundry lists of accolades.

“For example, Anderson Silva is not even considered to be in the conversation anymore as the GOAT, which is a shame because he’s done so much for our sport. Jose Aldo, these guys have been kicking ass for years, they’ve done so much for our sport and then one defeat, and now they’re not the best any more,” he said.

“I understand that the conversation will always just be an opinion and I’ve just got to focus on the things that I can control, which is preparing myself the best that I can for each fight and making sure my hand is raised at the end of the day.”

Considering his numerous USADA infractions and antics like his 2015 hit-and-run incident, Jones admitted that he hopes to make less mistakes ahead of his return bout.

“Of course I care about losing fans, everybody wants to be a liked person,” he admitted.

“What I’ve got to do now that I’m back is make less mistakes and show signs of growth, and I feel like I’ve grown tremendously. Having the sport taken away from me has shown me what it means to me. I’m not in the business of taking fighters lightly anymore and getting all crazy right before the fight like I used to. I feel like I’ve matured a lot and it all means a lot more to me now. Yeah, just making less mistakes, everything at the end of the day is forgivable; most things are forgivable.”

Jones believes that his return to the top of the sport is something that the American public could get behind.

“I feel like in America, people love the comeback story,” he said. “I feel like they love to build athletes up, people lap celebrities up and a lot of people really enjoy watching people fall, but a lot of people really enjoy watching people climb up after bullshit. I’m aware of that and my goal is to just climb back up, to get it right once and for all and show people a great comeback story.”

When asked what he hoped his legacy would be, Jones insisted that he would want to be remembered as a “bad motherf*cker.”

“What is my legacy? What would I want it to be? Let’s see here, just being a bad motherf*cker at the end of the day. Just a bad dude, man. Am I perfect? No. Am I a Christian who swears? Yes. Do I love God? Yes. Do I love my family? Yes. Am I bad motherf*cker in that ring? Yes,” Jones said.

“That’s it, man. One thing I’m realizing is, being the champion, you don’t have to wear a suit everyday, you don’t have to be politically correct and have all the kids look up to you and say that you’re such an angel. Who said that’s what a champion has to be?”

Jones cited his first bout with Gustafsson and his win over Vitor Belfort when describing what a champion should be:

“A champion is guy that goes out there after being cut in the first round of the fight, gets taken down for the first time ever and fights with one eye shut half the fight. A champion is a guy who gets armbarred and friggin’ finishes Vitor Belfort, finishes the fight with one arm. Dude, that’s a champion to me, just a bad motherf*cker. That’s what I want my legacy to be. Call me a good person or a bad person, call me a hypocrite, call me what you want. I know I’m a bad dude and that’s what a champion is to me: The baddest dude with the biggest heart and the biggest balls — that’s me.”

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