Dan Henderson may have woken a sleeping giant.
In his bouts against Rashad Evans and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, Jon Jones showed a willingness to engage in pre-fight trash talk.
He hoped his upcoming UFC 151 bout with Henderson would be different. There are few fighters who garner the same amount of respect as an all-time great like Henderson, who is the epitome of a modern-day warrior.
In an interview with ESPN, Jones implored that Henderson keep things "classy":
As far as Dan Henderson, I'm excited about [him], he's a great fighter. You know, I've gone through a lot with Rashad as far as all of the trash talking and I really hope Dan's listening and I really hope that Dan keeps it classy throughout this fight. I respect him as an older man, I respect him as a warrior and I just hope he keeps it classy and not drag me through another trash-talking bout. Let's stick to why we're really here, let's just fight.
Unfortunately, things haven't gone the way Jones hoped.
In a post on Twitter, Jones said he felt Henderson was being "disrespectful" in some of his comments leading up to the fight. He never pinpoints exactly what was said that upset him, but he assured the MMA world that Henderson's mouth had given him extra motivation:
No clue why Dan Henderson decided to be so disrespectful to me leading up to this fight, but it is what it is. I could use the motivation
The dudes done so much for the sport, I'm not even trying to come at him like that. I did enough trash talking with Page&Evans
FYI Henderson's mouth isn't bothering me at all, I just figured with all his experience he'd be over stuff like that
Jones could be referring to Henderson's recent interview with ESPN, where the MMA legend called him "young" and "sloppy."
Henderson also said he felt Jones had "a lot to learn, technically."
For the most part, Jones has been relatively quiet leading up to his September 1 showdown with Henderson.
There was even some talk of him possibly overlooking Henderson's chances, especially after the picture he posted of himself on Twitter that has him looking out of shape.
Is it really smart to give Jones added motivation?