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Jon Jones' manager says the champ is 'maturing' denies that Jones is 'turning heel'

Malki Kawa says that his client is not "turning heel" but rather "he's becoming more comfortable saying what he feels and not worrying too much about media backlash or people."

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Jon Jones' manager Malki Kawa was Ariel Helwani's guest on The MMA Hour on Monday. Kawa had some interesting comments about Jon Jones and the fan perception that he may be "turning heel" or deliberately trying to alienate fans.

"I don't know if this is him turning heel, I think what's going on with Jon is that he's maturing. This is him maturing and he's becoming more comfortable saying what he feels and not worrying too much about media backlash or people.

"What people don't understand about Jon, is that he wants to be a good example, especially for young kids. Jon wants when people look up to him to see a guy who put a lot of hard work into what he does. Its not something that just came to him because he's 6' 4" with long arms.

"He actually worked really hard to get better everyday. He also has his personal side, his personal life. He also has his business side, the life we don't see. When he was a kid, a lot of major celebrities or athletes might have looked down on him or didn't give him that autograph and he always said that he would never want to do that to anyone.

"How are athletes are portrayed nowadays, these big necklaces and partying all the time, whether he does that or not, it's not something that he necessarily wants out there. He also doesn't want to come across as that guy who is brash and cocky. What he's always tried to do is be a professional and act a certain way when he's on camera and all that. There are certain times when he has held his tongue back and held his feelings back.

"As time has gone on, he's realized that it's okay to tell someone that if you ask for a fight, your going to go toe-to-toe with them. It wasn't necessarily directed at the fans. That video was, 'you are trying to make me out to be a coward.' It could have been directed at the media, it could have been directed at Dana White, it could have been for the fans, who knows. That's the beauty of Jon Jones. He's just learning that it's okay to be a bit more vocal and to say things."

Jones will rematch Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 177 in September.

Transcription via MMA Mania.