It’s fair to say that 23 year-old UFC star Jon Jones is living the dream right now after not only comfortably defeating Ryan Bader at UFC 126 last night, but also earning an unexpected title shot against Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua.
Some might see that as a daunting challenge with only six weeks to prepare, but Jones feels this is his time to shine.
“I’m just so excited, I’m so grateful for this situation and I think everything happens for a reason. I’m not afraid of this moment, I feel as if it’s my moment,” an excited Jones told MMAfighting reporter Ariel Helwani.
Is six weeks really enough time to prepare for a title shot against his toughest opponent to date though? Jones says yes.
“I think so. I didn’t get hurt at all. Actually, my big toe, I might have stubbed it a little on my way out, but I feel great, I’m already in shape, so right now it can only bring an even tougher, more vicious, more fit Jon Jones.”
If your still in any doubt about the level of natural talent Jones possesses, then listening to him describe how he learned the choke that ended the fight with Bader will give you some indication of how he’s got to this point in his career at such a young age.
“[In training] Georges [St.Pierre] was working that choke from the front headlock position. I was just watching him do it over and over again, and Greg [Jackson] didn’t want me to do any work on it at all because I was just getting ready to fly to Vegas, but it was just a blessing in disguise. I got to watch George practice that move and then I did it in the fight today, without even ever training it, so it was just a major blessing.”
Jones has had a remarkably quick rise to the top of the UFC’s light-heavyweight division, and it’s a lot for him to take in, but he’s wise enough to know that he has to keep grounded as his star continues to shine ever brighter.
“Right now I just need to keep the people close to me that’s always been there and realize that there’s going to be a lot more distractions coming my way, but I’m prepared for it mentally, and I promise myself that I won’t allow myself to fall by the wayside. I’m way to close to my dreams to slow down and start doing anything dumb, and I won’t do anything dumb.”
Watch Jones full interview with Helwani below.