Jon Jones has taken part in big fights before, most notably his pair of matchups against Daniel Cormier that reportedly sold more than 1.6 million pay-per-views combined.
Throughout his career, Jones has also faced anybody the UFC has thrown at him even if that didn’t necessarily add the most zeroes to his bank account.
He fought Alexander Gustafsson in a battle that’s still talked about to this day but the card only sold a little over 300,000 pay-per-views. Following a long absence from the sport, Jones took on late notice replacement Ovince Saint-Preux with approximately 320,000 pay-per-views sold.
Jones has profited the most from his UFC career when he engages in the kind of rivalry fights that get people excited to watch. His bout against former teammate Rashad Evans reportedly pulled over 700,000 buys and a showdown against Quinton “Rampage” Jackson sold more than 500,000 buys back in 2011.
Of course the pay-per-view model has changed dramatically in recent years but fans will still pay for the fights they want to see most.
Lately that has meant breaking the bank to watch Conor McGregor whenever he steps into the Octagon because he turns every fight into a spectacle. Perhaps more than even that, McGregor has stepped up to every challenge that is supposed to be his downfall.
He called out former featherweight champion Jose Aldo after just arriving in the UFC. McGregor lost to Nate Diaz and then turned around and asked for a shot at redemption just a few months later. He became a two-division UFC champion and then chased a boxing match — the first of his career — against undefeated multi-weight class champ Floyd Mayweather that earned him a nine-figure paycheck.
When it’s all said and done, McGregor may have more impact on the sport than any single fighter in the history of mixed martial arts and that’s started trickling down to Jones.
While he’s currently on suspension awaiting word from USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) when he can return, Jones admits that watching McGregor call for these ‘money fights’ that not only earn him a big paycheck but continuously add to his aura as a fighter willing to face any and all challenges, it’s made him rethink his strategy going forward.
“Conor McGregor has definitely inspired me to reach for bigger fights,” Jones said when speaking to the media in Russia just recently. “The higher the risk, the higher the reward.
“That’s my plan. Take a page out of his book and start challenging myself against some pretty scary dudes.”
While Jones has run roughshod over the competition at light heavyweight, his proclamation about following in McGregor’s footsteps might mean a pursuit of a second world title.
Jones has already said he would like to face Cormier for a third and fourth time — in hopes of not only reclaiming his light heavyweight title but also for the chance to become heavyweight champion as well.
Jones has long teased the possibility of moving up to heavyweight but never pulled the trigger.
Now it appears watching somebody like McGregor jump around weight classes, win titles and pull in millions at the same time are starting to inspire Jones to take more risks with his career.