Newly Crowned UFC Champ Jones Joins Leno on ‘Tonight Show’

By Staff Mar 24, 2011
Jon Jones makes the jump to late night on Thursday night. | Dave Mandel/

Five days after his dominating win against Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC 128, UFC 205-pound champion Jon Jones has been tapped as a guest for Thursday’s episode of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”

Jones’ appearance on the NBC staple talk show will tape Thursday afternoon in Burbank, Calif., and will air 11:35 p.m. ET that night. UFC President Dana White broke word of the booking on Monday via Twitter.

“Congrats, Jon Jones,” White wrote. “First UFC fighter to do ‘The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.’”

Despite White’s assertion, Jones will not be the first UFC fighter to appear on the long-running late-night program. On Sept. 19, 2003, then-UFC light heavyweight champ Tito Ortiz appeared alongside training partners Dean Lister and Fabiano Iha in a lengthy, pre-recorded segment with Ryan Seacrest. Last June 17th, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson sat down for a chat with Leno, albeit primarily to discuss his role in “The A-Team” motion picture.

Jones’ newly won belt seems likely to be the main topic of discussion for his “Tonight Show” turn, though the 23-year-old champion will have no shortage of other topics to discuss. Hours before claiming gold, Jones, along with coaches Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn, subdued a robber in a Paterson, N.J., park where the team had traveled for pre-fight meditation.

Since his win, Jones has been at the center of the fallout between Greg Jackson and former training partner Rashad Evans, the first in line to challenge for Jones’ title.
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