At just 26 years old and widely considered the greatest fighter on the planet, it’s easy to forget Jon Jones is a relative neophyte to the sport of MMA. And it’s scary to think what could lie ahead for “Bones,” who says he’s just getting started.
“I’m a white belt in jiu-jitsu,” Jones told MMAjunkie.com. “I just got a new boxing coach. I’m learning so much about angles now. My eyes have been so opened, like a new baby. I’m just really excited to show the MMA community how much better I’ve gotten at mixed martial arts.
“I think a lot time people feel as if because I’ve done so good already that I can’t get better or it’s time for other people to catch up with me. That’s just not fair to me, and it’s not my psychology.”
Jones (18-1 MMA, 12-1 UFC) steps back into the cage in the main event of Saturday’s UFC 165 event, which takes place at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre and airs live on pay-per-view. Standing across from him will be Swedish contender Alexander Gustafsson (15-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC), a 6-foot-5 slugger who will be the first opponent to match the champ in terms of physical stature.
While Jones recently said he’s confident his team has developed a gameplan capable of nullifying Gustafsson’s strengths, he still contends he’s excited for the matchup if for no other reason than to prove his critics wrong, not to mention the opportunity to defend his belt six consecutive time, a feat no other 205-pounder has ever accomplished in the UFC.
“I’m definitely very excited,” Jones said. “This fight, for me, it’s everything I wanted. I made it very clear to everyone what I was looking for, and it’s all happening.
“To fight a guy like Alexander Gustafsson, it’s a fight I asked for to be able to close the debate of which light heavyweight was the most successful or the most dominant. I think I’ll close the debate with this win. I think I’ll also close the debate that the reason why I was so dominant is only because of my size and my reach advantage. So I feel like I’m closing two chapters with one fight, and that’s huge for me, so I’m very excited. I’m very fired up about this one.”
Should Gustafsson prove victorious, Brazilian slugger Glover Teixeira is expected to earn the next shot. Teixeira boasts an incredible 20-fight win streak and would certainly count among the most powerful fighters Jones has ever faced. But “Bones” said he’s not thinking about that just yet, even though Teixeira is scheduled to be in Toronto to attend UFC 165.
“I’m not thinking about Glover at all,” Jones said. “I hope he enjoys watching the fight.”
Jones recent track record is incredible. At just 26 years old, he’s already defeated five former UFC champions. But Jones believes he’s just scratched the surface of what’s possible for him as an athlete.
“I’m still really young,” Jones said. “I think people forget that this is only my sixth year as a pro fighter. I’m just really excited to show people that I’m still very much a kid in a way when it comes to MMA. My enthusiasm for the sport and the learning curve is still just in the beginning stages.
“There’s just so much more for me to learn. We’re always doing things better and getting better at the sport. People just think for some reason it’s time for the new guy to catch up to me. Who said I slowed down?”
For the latest on UFC 165, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.
(Pictured: Jon Jones)