Jon Jones will face what will almost certainly be the stiffest test of his career this Saturday at UFC 135 when he stands across the ring from Quinton Jackson. Not to take anything away from his last win, but Mauricio Rua was coming off a long layoff and did not look 100%, making Rampage the first long-time top guy that Jones will face while in shape and on a "regular schedule." This makes the fight a huge moment in the career of Jones.
Jones' talent has never been the question, he is a remarkably gifted fighter, but there has been some of rumblings behind the scenes about some of Jones' behavior outside the cage. In a recent interview with Sergio Non of USA Today, Jones said that he has changed:
When you say your maturity has changed, what does that mean?
In the past, I would have a few nights where me and the guys would want to go out and hang out for awhile, come home a little late, feel sluggish in the morning. I don't have any of those things any more.
Or eating the things that I shouldn't be eating. Eating past a certain time at night. I stopped doing those type of things.
I've just matured a lot. I've grown a lot, and I noticed it. The way I push myself, and how serious I take game-planning. I just feel better.
I think I'm acting like a champion now instead of someone who wants to be a champion. I just expect more from myself, I guess.
It sounds like this realization that you've had came with winning the belt, like, "Hey, I'm the champ, I need to act differently." Is that a fair characterization?
Not necessarily act differently, but just stop playing games with myself. Stop being a nonsense individual.
One of the other highlights of the discussion is Jones saying that he understands why people have the impression that he lacks power (no straight KOs, just TKOs) and says "Maybe I don't have knockout power. But I do know that I have enough power to break down a human body, and that's what I try to do."