[Opinion] Will The Real Jon Jones Please Stand Up
While witnessing his bell to bell dominance of Evans, a few things surfaced in Jones’ personality that threw fans off. Aside from the cocky ring entrance and the arrogant dance he did after his victory, Jones completely swagger jacked Evans style of crawling into the cage and crouching before the fight begins. He had no problems whatsoever imitating Evans before the bell rang. From that point on it was all about Jones. But “Bones” showed something that he has yet to show in a fight – nerves. On the outside looking in, it was apparent that Jones could finish Evans whenever he wanted to. The short elbows, ripping kicks to the torso and ridiculous range put Evans at a severe disadvantage. But Jones wasn’t as confident as he usually is when fighting. He was a little more reserved this time around. Perhaps it was because Evans was familiar with him and he didn’t want to get caught with something out of nowhere, but maybe there was a part of Jones that realized that he was facing a man that was willing to take him under his wing and befriend him. Maybe this was where Jones realized that he was taking apart someone that helped him not only inside of the cage, but outside of it as well. This is where the African American part comes in. And it’s not so much about race as it is Jones having a “big brother” he could identify with.
Rashad Evans drew the ire of die hard MMA fans way back in The Ultimate Fighter Season 2 when his brash personality in the cage rubbed welterweight legend and TUF coach Matt Hughes the wrong way. His showing out in fights is the equivalent of NFL players celebrating touchdowns. Purists hate it, some fans love it. Evans penchant for being cocky in the cage divided fans and fight pundits as to whether or not he was good for MMA. Either way, it made Rashad Evans a polarizing, yet popular fighter with a hint of racial overtures. His sharp suits and articulate speech were juxtaposed next to his showy in-ring style and celebrations. People would boo Evans but find themselves begging for autographs whenever he was around. They loved to hate him but couldn’t deny him when he obliterated Chuck Liddell at UFC 88 in 2008. He’s much like Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco who were amazing players but chastised by the media for being selfish because they celebrated. According to some of the older heads of the sport, you’re supposed to put your nose to the grindstone and never look up. Not Evans.
Not Jones either.
Watching Jones’ smile dissolve into a scowl throughout the duration of the buildup to the fight with Evans was the first chance we had the opportunity to see the real Jon Jones. He knows how good he is and wasn’t afraid to boast about it to Evans. He’s well aware that he is the future of MMA and that his talent is head and shoulders above the rest.
While Jones cited Evans’ arrogance as problematic, Jones was doing the very things that he chastised Evans about as he danced after his hand was raised in victory. He told Evans that his arrogance was why people didn’t like him.
But when you do this after a fight…
You have to realize that they aren’t going to like you either.
Jones subconsciously allows these moments of being the real Jon Jones escape into the atmosphere. He is brash. He is confident. He likes to celebrate and talk trash. Why won’t he let himself be who he really is? That’s all the fans really want. And those who don’t like you for being you? F*ck them. They would never be real fans of your work in the first place.