Jon Jones isn’t in the business of keeping everyone happy anymore.
The personable Ultimate Fighting Championship light-heavyweight champion was subjected to criticism from those who believed he didn’t deserve the unanimous-decision victory he got in September’s UFC fight of the year, beating Alexander Gustafsson.
Then Jones (19-1) upset more by not moving toward an immediate rematch.
Lastly, his follow-up fight against contender Glover Teixeira, coming Saturday on pay-per-view from Baltimore Arena in Maryland, kept getting delayed.
“Why give a guy an instant rematch for coming close?” Jones asked in a telephone interview with the Los Angeles Times on Monday. “It doesn’t make sense to me.
“I know it makes a lot of sense to viewers, but with me being the CEO of my brand, I need to continue on with my goals of challenging guys from all over the world, and that’s what I’m doing with Glover, continuing to challenge myself against someone with a magnificent record.”
The Brazilian Teixeira (22-2) followed his January 2013 victory over former light-heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson with two first-round wins.
Due to UFC scheduling issues and some lingering injuries from the Gustafsson fight, in which Jones was cut over an eye in the first round of what some said ranked as one of the UFC’s greatest fights, Jones-Teixeira was delayed three times from February until this weekend.
Now that it’s here, Jones has invited his NFL-playing brother Arthur and several other Baltimore Ravens to the event, which he hopes marks a return to his prior dominance, as he’s worked to enhance his jujitsu skills.
“Feel great about the fight and I’m not too concerned or worried about his game,” Jones said. “I just need to be on top of my game and try to fight as a reactive fighter. He’s one of the strongest guys I’ve fought based upon what others have said about him, but I’m pretty strong myself and think I’m a lot faster and quicker than him, things I intend to exploit.
“I want people to know, ‘Don’t get used to me getting in those crazy wars.’ It’s how I train, it’s what I believe, it’s my mentality. Make sure you watch it.”
Jones’ one loss was a disqualification in a fight he was dominating. He said he was struck by the fan backlash in his victory over Gustafsson.
“It taught me a lot of things,” Jones said. “My whole career, I had won before pretty convincingly. So to be on the receiving end of, ‘You suck,’ was different, motivating.
“Going through the war, bleeding, going to the hospital … I never gave up in that fight, and actually felt stronger the more tired and injured I was. I learned a lot about my heart, my perseverance.”
Jones said he’s watched replays of the Gustafsson fight with MMA experts, and said he’s confident he won the second, fourth and fifth rounds to justify the decision.
“You can’t argue when a field goal wins a game or if a shot at the buzzer wins a hockey game. A win is a win,” Jones said. “We knew people would want an instant rematch.”
When asked if he will fight Gustafsson again, Jones answered: “Yes, we’re both extremely young in our careers. I’d think we’ll be fighting more than once.”
Later in the day, however, he said he no longer had plans to move up in weight to challenge heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez.