Jon Jones: Why He Could Go Down as the Most Hated Fighter in MMA History

Jordy McElroy@ IAugust 14, 2012

Jon Jones - Esther Lin/MMAFighting
Jon Jones - Esther Lin/MMAFighting

Jon Jones' greatness is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it has given MMA quite possibly the greatest talent to ever live. But on the other, it has manifested thousands of "haters" hoping for the 25-year-old UFC champ to slip up.

Jones has everything going for him. He's exciting, unpredictable, good-looking and charismatic. But even with all of these desirable qualities, people tend to root against Jones.

What gives?

Perhaps Jon Jones is too good. At such a young age, he has already dominated fan favorites and legendary MMA icons like Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans.

Some are turned away by Jones' undying belief in himself, seeing him more as arrogant or condescending. During an appearance on SportsNite, he claimed he was the greatest fighter in the world:

I do believe my own hype, and I'm working towards making it true. It's working for me. I believe that I'm the greatest. Muhammad Ali said, 'I said I was the greatest way before I was the greatest. I made the world believe that I was the greatest.' With his own self-conviction, he became the greatest, and that's the attitude that I have.

It's tough to say whether or not Jones is the most hated fighter in MMA history, but the boos aimed in his direction come under rare circumstances.

He doesn't thrive off of playing a villain like Brock Lesnar, Tito Ortiz, Josh Koscheck or Michael Bisping; he genuinely wants to be liked. But it's tough when people aren't buying into your personality.

In the words of Rashad Evans, some people see Jones as "fake." They don't believe he's being his true self in front of the camera.

Are these insinuations truly justified?

These fans don't know what goes on behind closed doors. They typically go with their gut feeling, and their gut tells them they don't like Jon Jones.

The list goes on and on with excuses used in an attempt to paint Jones as a villain, but it doesn't include anything we haven't already seen from proposed fan favorites.

If Jones is "arrogant" for claiming to be the greatest, what does that make pound-for-pound kingpin Anderson Silva for claiming his dream fight would be against his clone? And Jones was arrested and charged with a DUI in May, but his name is only one among many professional athletes who got nailed for drinking and getting behind a wheel.

He may never relate with fans like a Georges St-Pierre or Junior Dos Santos, but Jones' talent is undeniable. If he keeps doing what he's doing, people will eventually come around.

If not, sometimes it's better to be hated than not talked about at all.