Jon Jones has revealed his decision to call out Brock Lesnar after UFC 214 was inspired by Conor McGregor's decision to face off against Floyd Mayweather in the boxing ring.
Speaking on the Jim and Sam Show (h/t Jed Meshew of MMAFighting.com), Jones said, "I think I was inspired by Conor McGregor, to be honest with you. To just dare and to reach, reach higher. Me versus Brock Lesnar is somewhat equivalent to Mayweather and McGregor."
Jones, the current UFC light heavyweight champion, noted many would expect him to lose against Lesnar. The difference in size between the two, along with Lesnar's grappling background, would count against Jones, who would need to move up a weight class.
However, the 30-year-old believes just attempting the switch would demand respect.
Similarly, Jones applauded McGregor for being brave enough to step out of his comfort zone and meet Mayweather in the boxing ring: "Be the David and Goliath story just the same way McGregor dares to compete against Floyd Mayweather. You know what, if you come up short, at least you have more balls than the average American that even step in there. But if you win, the glory that comes with beating a Floyd Mayweather or beating a Brock Lesnar, it’s huge."
Jones' take on McGregor's decision reveals the motivation for him to want to take on Lesnar. It also offers a rare positive take on McGregor's pending fight in Nevada on Saturday, August 26.
Not many are giving the 29-year-old UFC ace a chance, including boxing promoter Bob Arum, who told TMZ Sports: "There's not even a chance McGregor wins."
Jones' show of solidarity with his fellow UFC competitor also speaks to the crossover-style bouts that could become an increasing feature in combat sports.
Such matchups as McGregor against Mayweather and Jones taking on Lesnar would allow fans to answer those what if questions that previously only existed as hypotheticals between stars competing in different sports and weight classes.