Reflecting on his most recent absence from the sport of MMA due to a failed drug test, Former UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones has expressed the extreme sadness that he felt from not being able to do what he does best.
The former champion is currently preparing for a rematch with Alexander Gustafsson, who he first fought at the height of his career back in 2013 before many of his troubles began, and reflecting on that he claims to have gained a lot of life experience and learned some important lessons since then.
“The guy that fought Gustafsson the first time was right in the heyday of all his crap, as far as just being a party boy, mainly,” Jones told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani. “Being on top of the world; not many things have happened to my life at that point.
“So, I was just really on top of the world, just feeling invincible.
“Opposed to the guy that you see now, I feel like I’ve been through a lot. I’ve learned a lot. And I just feel like I appreciate the sport a lot more than used to. Having it be taken away from you and losing it, it teaches you how much it means to you. And this sport does mean a lot to me, I was extremely sad without it.”
Despite being stripped of the belt on two seperate occasions, Jones will return to an immediate title opportunity at UFC 232, and after having squandered much of the past few years it’s something he says that he’s not going to take for granted.
“Now that I have the opportunity to be back here in the UFC, I feel like I will treat it with so much more respect.”