Even after a decisive victory, Jon Jones says it’s “back to the drawing board.” | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Jon Jones has no plans to rest on his laurels.
Having recently relocated from his longtime home in New York to Albuquerque, N.M., the UFC light heavyweight champion is only going to increase his workload in 2015. Rest between fight camps is now a thing of the past, a scary thought for future opponents.
“If you pay attention to my career, you know I don’t train between fights. I never have. And now I live in Albuquerque,” Jones said on Fox Sports 1. “My family’s there. We’re happy, we have good friends. I feel complete now. I already told my coaches, ‘Don’t expect any BS from me.’ I’ll be back in practice as soon as my face heals, probably within a week. I’m getting right back to work.”
Even in the immediate aftermath of his triumph over bitter rival Daniel Cormier in the UFC 182 main event, Jones believes he still has room for growth.
“Why would I start training right away? I moved to Albuquerque now. That’s something I’ve been missing. I wasted a lot of time. I get fat in between camps. I do a lot of things that are immature,” he said. “I’m 27 now. I’m just growing, man. I’ve experienced a lot of enlightenment. What I need to do, because I’m not getting any younger, is I need to start training in my offseasons. So this next fight will be the best. I will be at my best.”
While the date, event and venue are undetermined, Jones will face the winner of the UFC on Fox 14 showdown between Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Johnson in his next title defense. Jones edged Gustafsson in a memorable five-round battle at UFC 165, a fight that “Bones” still points to as the most difficult test of his career. Johnson, meanwhile, is rejuvenated at 205 pounds and looks as dangerous as any contender in the division.
At this point, Jones doesn’t have a preference when it comes to a future opponent. Both Johnson and Gustafsson offer him something different.
“I don’t care which one I fight. To beat Anthony Johnson would be great because that’s somebody I haven’t fought yet, and he has a lot of believers,” Jones said. “I‘m here to conquer all the land. I do believe that I’ve beaten Alexander already -- no matter how ugly it was or how close it was -- I did win that fight. But at the same time, to shut up more haters and more doubters is starting to be one of my motivating factors. I do love to fight. I love to honor the gift that God has given me. Proving haters wrong and the doubters wrong is a driving force as well.”
The chance to firmly cement himself as the greatest mixed martial artist of all-time is something that is within reach, and it makes Jones want to intensify his focus on what lies ahead. He doesn’t sound like a man with eight consecutive title defenses under his belt. Instead, Jones echoes the sentiments of a hungry fighter on his way up.
“There’s a lot more work that needs to be done. I really do want to be the greatest fighter. I believe this is the year I have a lot to prove,” he said. “It’s time for me to get back to work. I’ve won several fights before and it’s not anything new. It’s back to the drawing board.”