LAS VEGAS – Jon Jones doesn’t quite know what it’s like to lose, but there is a man who has pushed him to his limits more than ever.
Although the two-time UFC light heavyweight champion has had several close wins throughout his career, he has never faced more adversity than his memorable first fight against Alexander Gustafsson (18-7 MMA, 10-7 UFC) to UFC 165.
Arguably the greatest light heavyweight fight in UFC history, big underdog Gustafsson was more gambling than Jones (26-1 MMA, 20-1 UFC) probably imagined. He managed to cause a huge gash under Jones’ eye and became the first man to knock him down. But after the judges returned the scorecards, it was Jones who won a unanimous decision. The Incredible Battle was named 2013’s “Fight of the Year” and Thursday was officially inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.
“It’s really cool,” Jones told MMA Junkie and other reporters on the red carpet. “It’s really cool. It’s been a long time since I’ve received any awards or something outside of the belts. It’s a different feeling. I’m very honored, very grateful. that (I’m) more established in a way. It’s just really cool.
The gash under Jones’ right eye was concerning, but luckily for “Bones,” medics didn’t stop the fight. Jones was able to win the Championship rounds on the three judges’ scorecards after losing Round 1 and learned many valuable lessons from that fight.
“It was cool because I almost managed to take an ‘L’ without really losing,” Jones said. “A lot of people say I lost that fight, and it was great to be so close without really losing. People say things like they never really become the fighter you can be until. that you lose and learn so much You can only learn when you lose In a way I lost without really losing.
“I learned a lot that night and I was really excited. I also discovered where my heart is and where my resilience is. There are several times in the fight where I could have walked through the door of surrender. I refused. I dug deep and brought out a little more of myself when the going got really tough. I was grateful to see that and it was just a big fight.
The fight was iconic, as was their photo at the post-fight hospital in which the two men were assaulted. But when Gustafsson made his way to a highly anticipated rematch, Jones made sure to leave no doubt by putting him on the sidelines.
“Training camp was terrible,” Jones said of their first fight. “Training camp was really bad. I was really partying at the time. … I don’t want to go back. It has been a long time. It had been a long time since I had lived this kind of life. I try to leave it in the past. The second fight. And that second fight, eh? I feel like this was a good indication of my level of concentration.