by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” – Sir Isaac Newton
Many people would describe UFC light heavyweight Jon Jones as a natural athlete, a devastating fighter, and a future champion. But only one word seems to truly encompass Jones when speaking with the young 23-year-old from New York.
Jones has had praise heaped upon him from other fighters, commentators, and journalists alike for his performances in the UFC, but to hear him tell it, he politely accepts the compliments and then goes back to ask his trainers to teach him to be better than he already is.
“I think once you start to think that you’re the man, and you know it all, and your style is unbeatable and stzuff like that, that’s when you get caught and clipped, and get humbled really fast,” Jones told MMAWeekly Radio in a recent interview.
It’s that realization that allows Jones to win fights, say thank you, and then look back on what he did right and what he did wrong, no matter how many people have crowned him the next big thing.
Don’t mistake Jones’ humility for lack of confidence. Now training out of Greg Jackson’s gym in New Mexico, he’s gaining maturity and confidence every day. He’s starting to believe in himself more and more, and that’s a dangerous thing for any opponent that steps in the cage with him.
“The biggest thing is that I’m getting more confident with each fight,” Jones explained. “Just becoming more experienced with each fight. It’s just exciting, I can sit home and watch my own fights and realize what I’m not doing good, and what I’m doing good. I’m just a real student of the sport.”
The student is excelling faster than many other fighters in his weight class, but don’t ask Jones how far away he is from a title shot, or when he’d like to face the champion. He’s still happy learning and progressing, and that’s enough for now.
“There’s just so much to learn in mixed martial arts. I haven’t even fought a Top 10 guy yet, so I can’t really start to think that I’ve made it,” he told MMAWeekly.com.
Training with some of the best in his weight class along with those bigger and smaller than him has made Jones the sharpest he’s ever been as he heads into his fight with Vladimir Matyushenko at UFC on Versus 2 in San Diego.
“Right now, I feel sharper than ever,” said Jones. “My ground game from the bottom, and ground passes from top, boxing, kicks are more proper, going back to my wrestling. I just feel sharp all around.”
Jones knows that all the hype in the world doesn’t equal victories in the UFC, and it’s that very mindset that has already made him one of the most intelligent and likeable fighters in the game.
He may not be calling himself the best, but Jon Jones seems destined for greatness. He just wants to get there on accomplishment, and nothing else.