Less than three months before the most significant fight of Jon Jones' career, an unlikely character in the realm of sport emerged to offer his opinion on Bones' rematch with Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 178.
During a candid interview on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour, former professional wrestling star "Stone Cold" Steve Austin offered Ariel Helwani his opinions on each of the UFC's nine champions.
Although Austin made many colorful remarks along the way, he spent the most time explaining to Helwani what he thinks of Jon Jones, MMA's pound-for-pound king and the UFC's once-beaten light heavyweight champ.
I mean, his lifestyle is a little bit different than what he preaches. But, as a fighter, (he's) premiere. And, God, in the light heavyweight division! And Gustafsson really handed him his ass and took him in the deepest water that he's ever been in. So that's going to be a hell of a rematch. Anyway, he kind of gets on my nerves because I think he's living two lives. To a degree, yes (he's a hypocrite).
The soon-to-be 50-year-old Austin, who retired from pro wrestling in 2003, offered mixed opinions regarding Jones' larger-than-life persona.
Yeah, (he annoys me), but in a good way. I would love to see him get his ass kicked, because it's going to take a hell of a man to be able to do that. I come from pro wrestling, I'm not a judge; but I think he (Gustafsson) did enough last time to get that victory. Some people agree, some don't, nonetheless it was a hell of a fight. And we knew Gus was on his way up to be a superstar. That match made him a superstar. But, what that match proved to me about Jon Jones was that when he's in deep waters, he had the heart of a champion. So, when I say some things about Jon Jones irritate me, I respect who and what he is inside that Octagon, make no mistake about that.
"Bones" will get a chance to silence his critics when he faces top-ranked 205-pounder Alexander Gustafsson in a highly awaited rematch at UFC 178 on Sept. 27 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
Jones nipped Gustafsson in a much-debated unanimous decision at UFC 165 at the Air Canada Centre in September.
Although Jones surrendered his first career takedown in the bout, he outstruck Gustafsson, 137-114, including 134-10 in the significant strikes category.
Jones suffered his only career loss in his fourth UFC fight when he got disqualified while pummeling Matt Hamill with illegal 12-to-6 elbows at The Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale in December 2009.
All stats gathered via Fightmetric.com.