[Opinion] Will The Real Jon Jones Please Stand Up
Who the hell is the real Jon Jones? Do you really know?
On Saturday night, Jones wasn’t the modest “Golly Gee Wow!” fighter that we have known over the past couple of years. This was a different “Bones” Jones that began to take shape as the hype train for his clash with Rashad Evans began picking up steam. Jones walked to the cage at UFC 145 with a smirk spread across his face that said “I know I’m that damn good and you know it too.” As Jadakiss’ “The Champ Is Here” blared from the speakers inside of the Phillips Arena in Atlanta, Jones took the long walk from the locker room to the Octagon that told the story of why people are beginning to hate Jon Jones. It’s not because he’s arrogant or modest or anything in between. The reason why people are beginning to hate Jon Jones is because they aren’t quite sure exactly who he is. One minute Jones is saving kittens from trees, the next he’s talking about how much more he needs to learn about the sport to become a legend, and the next he’s speaking as a pompous, fluffed up world beater who believes his own hype. This is not to say that Jones isn’t all of these things at any given point and time. This is about Jones embodying each of them only when its beneficial to him.
That’s what fans dislike about Jones.
There’s an air of phoniness that emanates from his pores. He’s a 24-year-old with tremendous ability that isn’t too sure how to project who he really is to fans. He wants to be the nice guy, he wants to be the hero but he also has a mean streak in him that he’s still unsure whether fans will accept that part of him or not.
In the buildup to UFC 145, Rashad Evans told Jones on “Counterpunch” that he’s setting himself up for a fall that he won’t be able to deal with. Some people thought that it was about losing, but reading between the lines – and Evans flat out calling Jones a fraud — you’ll notice that “Suga” saw right through the facade and perhaps really sees that there’s something about Jon Jones that just isn’t right. The “fall” that Evans alludes to may simply be the fall from grace as fans begin to hate him much more than they have ever loved him. How Jones deals with that inevitable fall may define his career.
Watching Jones dismantle his former friend and training partner showed just how unique of a talent that he is. The manner in which he dispatched Evans, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Lyoto Machida and Ryan Bader in the past 16 months has been as effortless as it has been breathtaking. The comparisons to Anderson Silva exist, but the difference — aside from their age and Jones’ wrestling background — is that Jones is an African American man that speaks English. The English part being more significant in this case than the fact that he’s a black man. Jones is able to speak regularly in the press and make himself a mainstream attraction. He’s appeared on talk shows and promotions for the UFC. It allows his personality to shine through outside of MMA circles. That’s something that Anderson Silva cannot do. Jones is in the midst of cultivating an image that he feels fans will accept. The problem is that he has to realize that trying to please everyone will only make more people dislike him.