What Makes MMA Fighters Like Jon Jones Fan Favorites or Villains?

Jake MartinCorrespondent IIISeptember 19, 2012

May 5, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Jon Jones (far right) shakes hands with fans during the middleweight bout between Alan Belcher and Rousimar Palhares during UFC on Fox 3 at the Izod Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-US PRESSWIRE
Joe Camporeale-US PRESSWIRE

Because Jon Jones has become MMA's most hated champion, it's only fitting to look back at what makes certain fighters fan favorites as UFC 152 inches closer.

So what is it? What makes fighters so admired and beloved by the fans who pay their hard earned money to watch them fight?

Well, first they have to satisfy the customer with what they're selling, which has a lot to do with flash and style. That's a given. Nobody wants to watch a fighter that's going to lay and pray on another man for three full rounds to earn himself a decision. Sorry Jon Fitch.

Which brings up another reason why fans gravitate toward certain fighters above others.

What's starting to become somewhat of a rarity in the sport are fighters that go out there and fight to finish their opponent rather than game-planning their way toward winning a decision. Hello Greg Jackson, or should I say "sport killer"?

Perhaps this is the reason why the Diaz brothers have such strong fanbases in MMA despite being looney. Sure, Nick Diaz might miss a press conference here and there, but when he shows up to fight, it's going to be a crowd-pleasing affair.

But oftentimes fighters aren't judged by just their fighting styles. Heck, if that was the case, Jones would be the most beloved fighter on the planet.

Rather, fans tend to look deeper and find out as much as they can about the man they root for and pay their hard-earned money to see throw-down on pay-per-view.

In fact, some could argue that a fighter's personality is the most important factor in determining a fan favorite simply because of Georges St-Pierre.

Here's a guy that hasn't finished a fight since Jan. of 2009 against B.J. Penn, yet he's still the PPV king in the UFC. People love to watch him fight mainly because he's a humble, class act that can easily be identified with. Are you taking notes, "Bones"?

Simply put, in order to become a fan favorite in MMA, a fighter must be skilled, flashy and humble. Anything other than that will give fans a reason to turn their back on the fighter, as we've seen with Jones.

Jones may be far from a fan favorite, but if he can somehow reason with the people and apologize for his actions, he might take small baby steps in regaining his humility in the eyes of the fans.