September 12, 2009

by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
(Photo courtesy Spike TV)

As a former first round draft choice of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Marcus Jones knows what it’s like to have expectations placed upon his shoulders.

As it was announced that Jones would be part of the upcoming Ultimate Fighter 10 reality series, many felt this former defensive lineman could make an impact as he transitions from the world of pro football to MMA.

“It was kind of out of the blue,” Jones told MMAWeekly.com of his inclusion to TUF 10. “After my last fight here in Florida, my manager and I were at the beach hanging out and ‘Monstah Lobstah’ (Allen Berube) calls me and tells me that they’re having heavyweight cast tryouts about a week in advance.

“I book my ticket and fly out to Washington state where they’re having the tryouts. They call your name out and then they call someone else’s name out and you have two minutes to show what you’re capable of.”

Jones took those two minutes to possible stardom seriously, quickly proving himself more than capable on the mat.

“In those two minutes I tapped my guy out three times in two minutes,” he recalled. “I must have made a lasting impression in the minds of the judges that day and they called me back.”

Jones hopes that the selection committee chose him based on his athletic performance and personality, and not just his NFL crossover history.

“Realistically I don’t know what goes on in their minds, but I hope that if they saw somebody roll with somebody else and tap them out three times in two minutes, I hope that would (make them think), ‘This guy’s for real,'” he stated.

“You never know in a situation like that. I’m just glad to have the opportunity to show what I’m capable of.”

Having amassed a 4-1 record in his two-year MMA career, Jones was eager to join the TUF cast and learn from coaches like Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and “Sugar” Rashad Evans, as wells as his fellow cast mates.

“I’m not completely a fish out of water, but I’m willing to learn,” he said. “I’m coming into this situation with open ears, open eyes and an open heart. I’m going to work hard and try to get better.

“Every single day I was there it was something new for me. To have an opportunity to test myself against those types of individuals was unbelievable.”

Jones feels that in transitioning from pro football to MMA, he’s brought along two important things that will help him along the way.

“One thing I brought over the most was the work ethic; to be able to maintain certain worth ethic over a period of time,” he commented. “When you play professional sports, you have that regimen of time to where you know when you have to get ready for a game and you’re constantly working toward that.

“I honestly feel that football is like wrestling, but you’re just running. There’s not much difference between a tackle and a takedown. That was one of the things I was able to bring over is that I am able to take people down just because of the fact that I’m used to tackling people all the time.”

When The Ultimate Fighter 10 debuts on Sept. 16, Jones feels that fans will have just as much of a blast watching the show unfold as he had participating in it.

“It’s going to be a very exciting season,” he concluded. “If you have the opportunity to, watch it.

“I’m telling you, it’s going to be an unbelievable show. I had a great time doing it. You’re going to enjoy yourselves and have a fun time watching it.”