Jon Jones has fought just once in the last two-and-a-half years, but that hasn’t hurt his confidence. He will fight Daniel Cormier at UFC 214 this Saturday in Anaheim, fully intending to reclaim the UFC light heavyweight championship.
“I feel like I’m in my physical prime as an athlete,” the 30-year-old Jones said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “I feel more mature than ever. I feel like I know my body. I’ve really got my nutrition down. Right now it’s only Tuesday, and I weigh 215 pounds, which is 10 pounds over my fight-competition weight. That’s a super-easy weight cut. I could lose four pounds in a workout of sweat. We’re close. We feel really good.”
Jones doesn’t believe Cormier feels the same.
“I actually saw Daniel Cormier this morning,” Jones said. “He was on a treadmill, his face was all drawn in – he just looked so dehydrated. His eyes were sucked out. He just looks terrible. He had a whole bunch of plastic on and sweat suits on to try to lose water weight, so that gives us a lot of confidence. When you’re cutting that type of weight, there’s no way you can be completely rejuvenated on the night of the fight. So we feel really good.”
If Jones sounds over-confident, he insists he isn’t.
“No way,” he said. “No way, man. Not at all. At this point, fighting is a mental battle. It’s all about psychology. It’s about breaking your opponent and not being remorseful or soft when it comes to trying to crush your opponent’s spirit. I’m aware he may hear this interview, so he has to hear the strength in my tone and my voice and my confidence.”
Jones, who defeated Cormier at UFC 182 in January 2015, has another reason not to doubt his abilities.
“I train my ass off,” he said. “That’s the reason why I’ve never lost a fight. I’m afraid (to lose). And my fear causes me to do the things that people don’t typically see: study constantly, work out four times every day, eat super healthy. I really do do the extra. I’m not a guy who considers myself unnaturally athletic or talented and wins because it’s a fluke; I won because I really believe I’m one of the hardest-working athletes in the world. So my confidence is backed up with sheer hard work. I deserve to be confident.”
Jones has won the UFC light heavyweight championship in each of his last two fights but was stripped of the belt both times – first for his involvement in a hit-and-run accident and again for failing a drug test.
Jones, however, insists he has put all of that behind him.
“(Cormier is) trying to sell the fight by making me look like a bad person, which is fine,” Jones said. “Me, on the other hand, I know my past. I know I’ve messed up. I forgive myself. I’ve paid so many consequences for my actions, including years away from work and lawsuits. I’ve done the right things to get back on this stage, and now it’s time for me to get back to why I do this sport.
“Being a martial artist, it’s a lifestyle,” Jones continued. “I really love being a martial artist. I go out there and I fight with love in my heart, love for being healthy and being blessed. It allows me to compete at a high level. At the end of the day, especially (less than) one week before the fight, there’s no need to bash DC and have hate in my heart. I need to fight with the gratefulness of my talent and ability.”