Since 2008, Jon “Bones” Jones has been one of the most complicated figures in the UFC. On the one hand, he’s one of the greatest fighters ever to do it. At 26-1, Jones is a force to be reckoned with.
On the other, his history of drug use, both for performance and recreation, and erratic behavior has put a damper on his public persona. He’s a man with many stories, but one he shared recently might best sum up the Jones experience.
Jon Jones’ rise in the UFC
According to ESPN, Jones fought his first professional bout in April of 2008 against Brad Bernard. He disposed of his opponent in just over 90 seconds. This kicked off an impressive stretch where Jones won six fights, five of them by knockout, in only three months’ time. It also got him on the UFC’s radar. He fought his first fight under the MMA giant by August of that same year.
Jones quickly become one of the faces of the combat sports giant. His first two wins were unanimous decisions over Andre Gusmao and Stephan Bonnar, respectively.
He followed that up with a ninth win over Jake O’Brien that July. Jones was briefly humbled after a disqualification against Matt Hamill in the 2009 finale of The Ultimate Fighter, which remains his only loss for his career.
It did not take long for him to recover. By March of 2011, Jones was in his first title fight against Mauricio Rua. He’s defended that title at nearly every stop since then. Save for a no-contest against Daniel Cormier due to a failed drug test in 2017.
Jones has made mincemeat of his opponents. Cormier, Quinton Jackson, Chael Sonnen, and several other big names in the sport have fallen by his hands.
As good as he is, however, there’s another side to his legacy.
Jon Jones has a complicated personal life
Jones was always something of a loose cannon both in and outside of the octagon, according to Sports Net. He had several minor traffic infractions throughout the years, but an extracurricular brawl before his fight with Cormier showed a different side to this.
Tempers eventually cooled down, and Jones finally defeated Cormier in another battle. However, the following day he checked into rehab after testing positive for cocaine.
Months later, he was charged with a hit-and-run after leaving the scene of an accident. By October, he was back with the UFC, however. Jones’ problems with anger and substance abuse became just as much a part of his legacy as any knockout punch.
In 2016, he was once again implicated in a drug scandal after the USADA flagged him. He was banned for one year. Only to be caught doping the following year. In both cases, Jones claimed any banned substances he took were unintentional.
It’s safe to say that the same drive that makes Jones such a great fighter has its pitfalls out of the octagon. He seems somewhat aware of this; however, as a story he shared shows.
Coming clean about his dark past
Speaking with fellow fighter Israel Adesanya during one of their many bouts on Twitter, Adesanya claimed that Jones once hid under a cage to avoid a random drug test. Rather than deny that, however, Jones came clean.
He replied, “I was hiding from Nevada State Athletic Commission, not USADA, and that was years ago. I had just smoked a blunt and was afraid I would fail my test for weed. … that’s the actual truth.”
It was a strange admission from a man who should probably steer clear of such headlines. However, at 33 years of age and still showing no signs of remorse, Jones remains the same person he’s always been, for better or for worse.
With his resume, however, it’s going to take even more to bring him down. Now searching for another opponent after vacating his last light heavyweight title and moving up a division, we can all expect more memorable moments, both good and bad, from one of the most complicated figures that the sport has to offer.