When one door closes, as they say, another one opens. When troubled former UFC champion Jon Jones was kicked out of JacksonWink MMA because of domestic violence allegations, he was welcomed at Jackson’s MMA Acoma, a smaller affiliate of his former gym that was run by MMA fighter Nick Urso.
But recently, “Bones” was also spotted at the Fight Ready facility in Phoenix, training alongside retired ex-double champ and the one and only “Triple C,” Henry Cejudo.
Could Jon Jones find a new permanent training home alongside Henry Cejudo at Fight Ready MMA? pic.twitter.com/Nkl8AXK2s1— MMA Junkie (@MMAjunkie) November 13, 2021
What do you get when you get the Greatest Combat Athlete of all time and the Greatest Mix Martial Artist of all time. Just wait and watch ….. @JonnyBones— Henry Cejudo (@HenryCejudo) November 12, 2021
For a controversial character like Jones, his reputation definitely precedes him. But that didn’t matter with Fight Ready’s striking coach Eddie Cha, who welcomed Jones with open arms.
As for why he decided to do so, he explained everything in a recent interview with MMA Fighting.
“For me, it was a no-brainer. I think that people make mistakes — whether they make one, two, or three. Jon’s just under a microscope. Whenever he does anything wrong, it’s magnified,” he explained.
“But if you know him as an individual, and I don’t know him as well as other people, but I’ve heard from other people doing my research, Greg [Jackson] has never had a problem with him, [Brandon] Gibson has never had a problem with him as an individual.
“I don’t think anyone agrees with the mistakes he’s made, but at the same time, we all make mistakes. I was super happy to work with him and judge him as an individual. I was saying let’s not judge him until we get to know him first, and I was super impressed — as a human being and as an athlete.”
Many observers have cast judgment on Jones because of his actions and the constant trouble he’d get himself into. Cha, however, refuses to do so.
“I don’t think that we’re able to change anybody unless somebody is willing to change. He’s come back and forth a few times already and the dude’s a class act, to me. I have zero problems with him and I’m excited to work with him.”
Cha says Jones even volunteered to be an exclusive training partner to UFC middleweight Eryk Anders, who fights André Muniz at the UFC 269 early prelims this weekend.
“Eryk Anders has been in camp. I don’t know how well they’ve known each other or anything, but the next week we came in and it was, ‘What do you want to work on?’ [Jones] said, ‘Well, I’m here for Eryk. Whatever he wants.’
“I’m like, ‘Jon, you’re too big for him. I appreciate it, you’re not a light heavyweight no more, you’re an actual heavyweight now.’ He’s like 250, 255 now. Eryk was [jokingly] like, ‘What? He’s not helping me do nothing. He’s too big.’ But he’s just been nothing but giving from what we’ve seen.”
Jones hasn’t seen any action since his much-questioned decision win over Dominick Reyes at UFC 247 in pre-pandemic 2020. He’s currently preparing for his heavyweight debut, which he expects to happen sometime in the second quarter of the coming year.