Jon Jones is set for a tough defense of his UFC light heavyweight championship this Saturday night at UFC 140. Should he pull off the win he'll have completed one of the best years in MMA history with wins over Ryan Bader, winning the title from Mauricio Rua, defending against Quinton Jackson and beating Machida. Of course, getting that win is not a given.
Jones joined Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour yesterday to talk about several topics including Saturday night's fight (thanks to MMA Mania for doing the transcribing heavy lifting).
On Machida getting the title shot despite being 1-2 in his last 3:
On his religion:
"God has way more important things to think about than me winning a fight or Tebow winning a game, but religion is a big part of me, and if people can't accept that, then maybe I'm not meant to be that mainstream athlete."
"It's an interesting fight. I'll go with Rashad because of the experience factor. But Phil Davis can win more than he realizes, he has to be comfortable striking. I won't say too much because I have my own ideas on how to beat Rashad, but, I don't think Rashad has a chin at all. Trust me Rashad does not have chin. But it will be a closer fight that people will realize."
I will say that I find Jones much more likable in the build up to this fight because he seems to be forcing it much less. He's much more natural. Yes, he's cocky at times, but that's fine. I think the best fighter in his weight class and possibly the world should be cocky. I just want to believe the things he is saying and for him to not come across as incredibly carefully managed and straight-up manufactured. That's the difference between the build-ups to this fight and the Rampage fight.
Of course, there has been less of a media build-up for this fight than the Machida fight. But it seems like something changed and we're getting more of the "real Jon Jones" and I think that's great.