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T.J. "Tombstone" Jones has garnered some attention over the last few days as the MMA world starts to learn more about the beef plant worker's journey to Bellator 221. Scheduled to face former World Wrestling Entertainment superstar, Jake Hager, Jones (1-1) has been calmly declaring his plans to finish Hager (1-0) in the first round.
At today's weigh-ins, Jones cheekily mocked Hager's signature "We the People" slogan by flexing on the scale, putting his hand over his heart, and shouting "We the … it doesn't matter," before running his thumb across his neck in a throat slicing gesture.
After the face-off, when Hager placed his hand onto his chest to perform his "Jack Swagger" bit, Jones once again took the opportunity to remind Hager that he is indeed facing a game opponent. Jones shook his head at Hager and reiterated loudly that "it doesn't matter." Clearly, the "Tombstone" is not intimidated by the grandeur of the big stage. But neither is Hager, who remained nonplussed.
The wrestler-turned-fighter certainly has more to lose if defeated by Jones on Saturday night in Chicago, Illinois. Despite being in the infancy of his MMA career, Hager is a meaningful commodity for Bellator, as evidenced by back-to-back main event slots in as many professional fights.
For his part, Jones is viewing the matchup as an opportunity to "make a little extra money so we can have a fun summer." The blue-collar husband and father spoke earnestly to the media yesterday about his commitment to his family. "I got six kids at home and they come first before everything."
Despite his underdog status, Jones, 29, remains confident that he has what it takes to deliver the 37-year-old wrestler his first professional loss. "I think he needs to prepare for my power more than I need to prepare for his wrestling," said Jones. His prediction for Saturday night is a win by knockout. "I don't see this going the full five minutes of the first round."