What Two MMA Stars Would Change About MMA

Urijah Faber and Jon “Bones” Jones are two of the great forces in mixed martial arts. When K-Swiss had their four-day shoot to restart their awesome Kenny Powers “MFCEO” campaign, With Leather’s Josh Zerkle was invited to check it out and spend time with the athletes supporting the California-based shoe brand. Faber and Jones sat down seperately with Zerkle, among others, in a roundtable discussion last month to share their thoughts on their sport and being part of the K-Swiss campaign.  Portions of this Q&A were edited for clarity and space.

Bones, You took a fight for UFC 87 with just two weeks to prepare. I’d imagine you cut a few corners in your preparation there.

JONES: Yeah, it was a big move, but it was a big opportunity.

What do you cut out of your regimen at that point?

JONES: For the two weeks, I just did all cardio. I knew I had the technique, but I wanted to focus on not making cardio be an issue. At the time, my opponent had so many tricks with experience and technique, black belt in jujitsu. I said, “You know, if I lose, it’ll be because he’s just flat out better.” I wasn’t gonna lose because of my cardio.

So counterattacking…trying to match styles?

JONES: Yeah, he trained with some high-level coaches. I figured he’d be a better combatant, but I just wanted to make sure that my heart could get me through.

Are you the best pound-for-pound right now?

JONES: In my weight class.

In the world?

JONES: No, not in the world. There are so many great fighters.

If you could change one thing in MMA, what would it be?

JONES: It’s a silly one. I would get rid of the replica belts.

Like the ones they sell at the events?

JONES: Yeah. I hate it when people come up to me with a belt that looks exactly like mine and they ask me to sign it. I worked three times a day for three years to get this [light heavyweight championship] belt, and now this guy asking me for an autograph has one just like it. Are you serious? I mean it’s not as heavy, but it looks just the same.

I like that. I don’t think it’s silly at all.

JONES: I never sign those belts.

Really? I’m sure that goes over very well.

JONES: Yeah. It’s personal.

There’s really not much UFC fighters can license in terms of memorabilia. You have your gloves and your trunks and that’s about it.

JONES: Yeah, UFC has everything. They have our name, they have our video game rights, they have our toy rights, poster rights. They have everything. Can’t I wear my own gloves? But yeah, I’ll sign anything if they’ll ask me. Gloves. Shirts. Boobs.

Urijah, this is your second K-Swiss shoot. What’s it like to be back here in this Kenny Powers world? I heard you during your commercial shoot telling people to “Rip his dick off!”

FABER: Yeah, Kenny’s one of the top make-believe athletes in the world. It’s cool, we got Bones here and all the other athletes, just doing more creative stuff. It’s funny being a part of it. The last campaign got a ton of notoriety so it’s good to be back. Danny McBride and Jody Hill work so well together. It’s pretty cool to be part of that process.

I never thought I’d get paid to yell “Rip his dick off” and “Punch him in the boobs.”

How would Kenny Powers fare in the ring?

FABER: The biggest thing out there is confidence and he’s boiling over with it. So I’d say he’d be pretty dangerous.

What would you change about MMA? You’re coming over from WEC, are there any differences in how those two promotions operate?

FABER: I’d like to see, and I’m on the positive side of this, I’d like to see the less marketable guys taken care of. That’s one thing. Another thing is the judging. It’s terrible. I think there needs to be a serious call to action to make sure these judges know what the hell they’re talking about. It’s unfortunate when you got a guy who has spent his whole life to getting good at all these things not getting credit for what he’s doing in the cage. Striking, wrestling…I don’t think the average judge knows what they’re doing.

The answer would be a judging commission, get them licensed, make them go through a process. Maybe they’re fighters or coaches in the sport before they can be a judge.

Bones, will you sign my boobs?

JONES: Sure, man. You got some nice ones, too.