Almost overnight, Jon Jones went from beloved UFC light heavyweight champion to one of the sports’ villains. Critics roared when he turned down a short-notice title defense against Chael Sonnen at UFC 151. In a first for the league, his refusal to fight caused the league to cancel the September 1st pay-per-view fight.
Tito Ortiz, Hall of Fame fighter and one of the sports’ longtime villains, went so far as to Jon a mentally “weak guy.”
Only 25, it has taken Jon Jones just over a year to establish himself as one of the best fighters in mixed martial arts history with his 16-1 MMA record (10-1 UFC record). He is the youngest UFC title holder in history, earning his spot in the UFC after only four months of professional fighting. Jon is also the first MMA athlete to be sponsored by Nike on an international scale. Not bad for someone just now entering his prime.
Jon is a phenomenal fighter and competes every day both in and out of the Octagon. He mentally prepares for each and every fight long before stepping into the ring, knowing his opponents tendencies like the back of his hand.
Jon even made national headlines, when in March 2011 on his way to prepare for that night’s fight at UFC 128, he defended an elderly couple who was getting robbed and chased down to capture the robber.
Tonight, Jon defends not only his title in the ring against Vitor Belfort, but his reputation. Fans want to see Jon lose after the cancellation earlier this month, but a decisive victory and carefully laid post-game speech could sway the audience back into his corner.