It's doubtful former light heavyweight ruler Jon Jones needs any extra confidence or inspiration ahead of his Ultimate Fighting Championship title rematch with hated rival Daniel Cormier. Nonetheless, he got some, and from a fellow, former pound-for-pound king, no less.
On July 12, Jones stated via Twitter that he had received a phone call from former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
“Just got off the phone with the spider, had some great words of wisdom for me. Always an honor getting respect from your idol,” wrote Jones.
Just got off the phone with the spider, had some great words of wisdom for me. Always an honor getting respect from your idol— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) July 12, 2017
On Monday's conference call to promote UFC 214, which takes place Saturday at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, Jones was asked about the content of his conversation with Silva. Jones said “The Spider” called to discuss his own bout with Cormier at UFC 200 in July of last year and naturally it didn't flatter “D.C.”
“He said, ‘It was almost surprising the level of fear I felt from Daniel,’” Jones said. He said to me, ‘I'm an old man now, and Daniel had to take me down round after round. I felt fear coming off of him. This man has fear in his heart.’ He said, ‘Know what you’re capable of, go out there and you take this from him.’ In a roundabout way, that’s what he said.”
Jones, 30, was supposed to have his anticipated rematch with Cormier on that same UFC 200 card, but in a pre-fight U.S. Anti-Doping Agency test, “Bones” tested positive for hydroxy-clomiphene, an anti-estrogenic agent, as well as letrozole metabolite, an aromatase inhibitor. Jones previously defeated Cormier via unanimous decision at UFC 182 in January 2015, accelerating their historic MMA rivalry.
The news of Jones' test failure came just three days prior to UFC 200 and Silva stepped into Jones' place to face Cormier, who dominated him on the ground en route to a three-round decision win.
“Anderson Silva is my idol,” Jones continued on the call. “He’s been the guy that I’ve respected the most since I was 19 years old and I got into this sport. And to hear him have that level of faith in me and pretty much tell me that it’s already done, now I just have to go out there and do what I’m capable of, it felt great. It felt great coming from him.”
Jones was sure to point out one leg up he had on his inspiration, though.
“One thing about me and Anderson is my takedown defense is solid, dude,” he added. “There’s no taking me down if things don’t go your way. There’s definitely no laying on me in half guard the whole time the way that happened.”
“It doesn’t bother me,” Cormier retorted. “I could really care less if everybody calls him and tells him how he should beat me or what they felt when they were in the Octagon with me. If a guy is just gonna fall down in the middle of the Octagon and let me get on top of him, I will gladly take that.”
“I beat him. He don’t want to see me win. So go get Jon to do the job that he couldn’t do.”