It wasn’t supposed to be like this. The lead-up to UFC 197 was supposed to be full of insults, questions of manhood, and maybe even some shoving matches. But with Daniel Cormier dropping out of UFC 197 due to an injury, we are stuck with Jon Jones vs. Ovince St. Preux for the UFC interim light heavyweight title. Now things are polite and respectful, which is fine, but it doesn’t seem like the real Jon Jones.
Jones seemed downright complimentary of OSP during their interview on UFC ON FOX and was respectful of the five more fights OSP has on his résumé. This is the same OSP who has dropped 27 percent of his fights in his career. This doesn’t seem like “real” Jon, this seems like “respectful calm before the storm” Jon. Like, he’s going to destroy OSP as a message to the rest of the division respectful.
Say what you will about the extra five fights, but Jones was in the UFC, wrecking high-caliber fighters on his seventh fight. On OSP’s seventh fight, he was 3-4, getting finished by the likes of Jonathan Smith and Robert Turner. Those men do not have Wikipedia pages.
Still, Jones is respectful of his opponent, who many believe is a lamb being led to slaughter.
“I think he’s a great opponent. A lot of people look at Ovince as someone who’s new in this game, but he’s got a lot more fights than I do. He had 10 amateur fights and 19 wins, 7 losses. He actually has a lot more experience than me. So I got a big challenge ahead of me to fight this guy and I’m taking him extremely seriously and I believe I’m going to get this victory.”
OSP was respectful right back.
“At one point in time Jon was given an opportunity and I’m doing the same thing. I’m given an opportunity and I’m taking full advantage of it.”
This is far from the nasty comments Jones had about Daniel Cormier a day earlier, when he questioned if the current light heavyweight champ is even injured. (H/T MMA Fighting)
“You know, it’s hard to say. I wasn’t there in the workout room with him when he got injured I’ll say. But, there’s been lots of rumors that he was hurt, not injured. And to drop the fight being ‘hurt,’ it just makes no sense.”
Is Ovince St. Preux a stepping stone for Jon Jones, and is he being respectful just to repair his damaged persona, or is he being genuine in his compliments? Either way, we’re a single Jones win away from booking Cormier/Jones II again, which we need for closure.