UFC light heavyweight champion Jon "Bones" Jones and challenger Quinton "Rampage" Jackson have done a good job of getting under each other's skin heading into to their fight at UFC 135, but it appears that, despite their differences, Rampage's charm isn't completely lost on Jones.
When asked about how his opinion of Rampage might have changed over the past few months, Jones responses were surprisingly complimentary.
"I've gotten to know him a lot better. I think he's actually a pretty cool guy," Jones said.
Jones attitude towards Rampage is somewhat surprising given the noticeable tension between the two fighters, fueled by Rampage's claims that Jones has been spying on him.
Although he harbors no ill will towards Jackson, Jones intends to pull no punches in the actual fight and knows that, once that cage door closes, it's all business.
"I've still got to do my job," Jones said, indicating that his fondness for Rampage won't stop him from doing everything that he can to retain his UFC championship.
In a recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel, the UFC light heavyweight champion referred to Rampage as Frankenstein. Jones took a few moments to elaborate on that thought.
"He [Rampage] is Frankenstein for a reason; he's a legend. I respect him a lot."
Jones is the youngest champion in UFC history. While constantly being referred to as a young kid might frustrate some athletes, Jones seems to enjoy it.
"Well, I am a young kid. I'm 24, so I'm actually a man too. I'm a father. I'm a house owner and a tax payer. But being young is good. Everybody nowadays is doing things trying to be young. My youth helps me train. My youth bring me joy. It's all good."
Will Jones' reign as the youngest-ever UFC champion be short? Or will he defeat Rampage Jackson and continue his ascent into greatness?
Tune in UFC 135 this weekend and find out.