September 5, 2012
Jon (Bones) Jones has unfinished business with Henderson
By NEIL SPRINGER, Special to QMI Agency
As far as Jon (Bones) Jones is concerned, he and Dan Henderson have some unfinished business.
The two were slated to headline UFC 151 in Las Vegas Sept. 1. After Henderson suffered a partially torn MCL, Jones turned down a replacement bout with Chael Sonnen and the UFC scrapped the card.
The light-heavyweight champion is now scheduled to meet Vitor Belfort at UFC 152 in Toronto Sept. 22. Though he’s not looking past the tough Brazilian, Jones said he wants Henderson once he’s done with Belfort.
“I haven’t said that anywhere, but you can be the first to put that out,” Jones said over the phone. “There’s some unfinished business, for sure. I don’t think Henderson handled the situation wisely, by making fun of me for not taking the fight (against Sonnen). Dude, you just dodged a bullet and you’re talking trash to me? You got injured and you’re going to talk trash that I didn’t fight Chael?
“He came out with this ad that said, ‘Buy a Hendo shirt and get a free Jon Jones shirt to dry your car off with.’ You’re making fun of me, yet you got hurt and dodged a bullet? You’re sitting at home with ice on your knee and I’m here doing pushups again because I thought my camp should have been over. I have stuff to do and you’re sitting around your home playing video games, or whatever you do during the day.
“Training camps suck, bro. Training camps suck. The fight is the fun part. So I’ve got to suffer all over again, do a training camp all over again, and you’re at home, laying down, having somebody feed you soup and you’re going to make fun of me because you got hurt?
“You should shut up and be grateful you dodged a bullet.”
Since the announcement that UFC 151 was cancelled, Jones has been Public Enemy No. 1 in the MMA world. Log onto any MMA forum and you’ll likely find countless threads criticizing his every word.
Though Jones chooses to focus only on the positives, he feels there’s a double standard from his critics.
“There are a lot of people who still love and respect me, but right now it’s kind of cool to hate me,” Jones said.
“I do something and it’s the worst thing in the world. Then when someone else does it, it’s almost OK. Chael says all this crazy stuff, but then I say something slight and it’s like, ‘Oh, that was the cockiest thing I’ve ever heard.’ Dan Henderson called me a kid 1,000 times leading up to that fight and we never even fought. I call him an old man once and the whole world was like, ‘You freakin’ age discriminator. You’re such a bad person.’
“Wow. I can’t get away with anything and everyone else does pretty much whatever they want.”
Though he admits it can be frustrating to have his name dragged through the mud, Jones has already come to terms with the fact that it’s simply a part of the gig.
“It just comes with being me, man, it just comes with the job,” Jones said. “People hate guys who are good what they do. It happens with all dominant teams — people want to see them lose. They can’t find anything to say about my game, so they attack (my) personality. You’ve got to bring down the guy on top, some way, some how. Even saying this, people will be like, ‘What an arrogant bastard.’ Even though I’m just telling the truth.”
In Jones’ mind, all the negativity is behind him now. He just wants to give Toronto fans a great performance against Belfort.
“I don’t know how therapeutic I would call it, but it definitely puts a lot of things behind me,” Jones said.
“I think a good win helps people forget about the negativity. I think it reminds people why they’re here, why I’m here. I’m not really here to be the perfect character or the perfect person people love. I’m here because I’m a great entertainer. I give you guys blood and the things you want to see. I’m here to fight for people, not for all the extra side stuff.
“I just want to reward the fans with a great fight, so they can remember why they’re all supposed to be here.”
Though Jones respects Belfort, he admits he was surprised his name came up, since the MMA legend has been competing at middleweight since 2008.
“I thought it was kind of random, but everything inside of me was like, ‘Wow, this is awesome,’ ” Jones said. “I got nervous right away. That nervous feeling is good. That means you respect the guy you’re going against.
“He’s a southpaw. I’ve only ever fought one other southpaw. He’s a former world champion and there’s the whole, ‘Who is the youngest champion of all time?’ argument. There’s so much to prove there. There’s so much awesomeness to wake up and train five days (a week) for. So it was a blessing in disguise.”
If you still have a UFC 151 ticket in your possession, now might be a good opportunity to hit up Jon Jones.
“I really want a UFC 151 ticket,” Jones said. “I think the people who have that rare ticket, it’s not all bad. You’ve got a ticket that no one else has and you’ll always have — the weird event that never happened, the weird controversy. I’m looking for one of those tickets. I might try and buy one from a fan or something.”
After his UFC light-heavyweight championship tilt against Dan Henderson was cancelled, Jones turned down a replacement fight with Chael Sonnen and the card was scrapped. Jones said he doesn’t regret his decision to turn down Sonnen.
“Right after I beat Vitor Belfort, it’s going to be like, ‘Man, the kid knew what he was doing. He didn’t gamble and he took a fight with later notice,’ ” Jones said over the phone. “I look at the positive. Now people in Canada get to come watch me fight again. When I look back at it, I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.”
During a conference call to announce UFC 151’s cancellation, UFC president Dana White put the blame on Jones. Jones admitted he was hurt by White’s comments, but has moved on. “I definitely feel like I’ve done a lot for the UFC and I kind of felt as though I meant more to him than what he demonstrated in that interview,” Jones said. “He hasn’t apologized for it, but I forgive him. People make irrational decisions when they’re angry. I’m over it in every way, shape or form. Me having a beef or problem with the UFC or Dana gets me nowhere. I’m really over it ... He really didn’t insult me. He didn’t call me a name or anything. He just said how he felt about me at the time. So I’m over it, man.”
UFC AND STRIKEFORCE TO CROSS OVER
A date has been set for the first cross-promotional fight between the UFC and Strikeforce.
Former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir will jump ship to challenge Strikeforce grand prix winner Daniel Cormier in Oklahoma City Nov. 3. The co-main event will see middleweight champion Luke Rockhold take on Lorenz Larkin.
Cormier entered the eight-man tournament as a replacement for semi-finalist Alistair Overeem, who was fired from his Strikeforce contract and quickly scooped up by the UFC. In one of the biggest upsets of 2011, the former NCAA Division I wrestler knocked out Antonio Silva in the first round. He then won an exciting unanimous decision over Josh Barnett on May 19, 2012 to capture the tourney crown.
Mir’s last outing saw him suffer a second-round TKO loss to UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos one week later. He originally won the title at UFC 48 in 2004, breaking Tim Sylvia’s arm with a vicious armbar. Mir also captured the interim strap by stopping Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira with punches at UFC 92 in late 2008.
SUPER-FIGHT LIKELY WILL NEVER HAPPEN
Though UFC president Dana White surprised many last week by logging on to the MMA Underground forum to gauge fan interest in a super-fight between retired MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko and former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar, he admits the fight will likely never happen.
“There was a question (on the forum), ‘Could Dana make this fight?’ ” White said Tuesday on UFC Tonight. “And then I asked them, ‘Well, how many people really want to see this fight?’ I was asking a question. I guess a couple people want to see that fight.
“I’ll tell you this: I have done so much to try to get Fedor into the UFC ... I’ve tried to get it done. And the crazy thing is, now everyone’s asking if I can make this fight, and you know Fedor’s retired. The guy retired.
“I couldn’t get him when he was fighting. Now we’re on such good terms I’m going to pull him out of retirement?”