The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to the Air Canada Centre in Toronto for UFC 152: Jones Vs Belfort on Saturday, September 22 and current light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will be looking to restore his reputation after the highly publicized fiasco that caused UFC 151’s cancellation earlier this month.
In brief, Jon Jones’ refusal to fight Chael Sonnen following an eleventh hour injury sustained by his original opponent, Dan Henderson, led to a series of confusing match up changes that eventually did not come to fruition and doomed UFC 151.
The cancellation likely cost the organization millions of dollars and obviously irritated the mixed martial arts community. Nevertheless, Jones has acknowledged his mistake and wants to make sure he can shed his newly minted characterization as a villain.
He explained in a recent interview with MMAWeekly:
I am not going to say I embraced the role of being a villain because I am not. I am not a villain; I am not a bad person. I pride myself off of inspiring others.
For all the people that think I am cocky, it’s like if you really listen to what I talk about, if you talk to me about fighting you may hear something that is a little arrogant because, right now, I train so hard to not even get hit, let alone talk about rousing a fight. So it is like I love this sport so much, I owe it to myself to think of myself in the highest regard, so I am not going to apologize if I am a little full of myself when it comes to MMA.
While some might argue that this type of attitude might be detrimental to his cause, the mixed martial arts community is easily swayed and he can do much to restore his status, as well as the organization’s, with a memorable performance this upcoming weekend in Toronto.
Although his new opponent Vitor Belfort is a huge underdog, he still possesses incredible quickness and packs impressive power in both his hands. If Jon Jones has gotten too caught up with restoring his image after the events of UFC 151 or takes Belfort too lightly he may find himself laying on the canvas and waking up to a flashlight being blasted into his eyes.
However, if ‘Johnny Bones’ comes prepared, like many believe he will, then Vitor Belfort will mark the champ’s fifth straight victory over a former 205-pound champion, which would be an unprecedented achievement in the sport and be a huge step towards improving his image.
As always, keep it locked on WGTC for all UFC and MMA news, reviews, and discussion.