UFC light heavyweight contender Corey Anderson has called Jon Jones fake and reiterated his willingness to fight the newly crowned division champion.
Jones, 31, won the light heavyweight belt for a third time when he beat Alexander Gustafsson by TKO at UFC 232 on Saturday. Anderson beat another Swedish fighter, Ilir Latifi, by unanimous decision at the same event but has since told TMZ he feels Jones' religious beliefs in particular are a facade:
"There's a lot about him that's just fake to me. The fact that he keep quoting these bible verses, and he's even got Philippians 4:13—which is one of my favourite verses—tattooed across his chest. I'm the type of person, I wake up in the morning and read my bible. I'm a God-fearing man."
"He puts things, 'Oh, God this and God that,' but then goes out and does drugs. You're popping for steroids and you're failing your tests. You're hitting pregnant women and running from the scene. You can't sit there and mix God and still live that life."
Jones has long portrayed himself as a Christian and defended those beliefs in 2011, when he was still just a couple of years into his Ultimate fighting Championship career:
He's now approaching his 10th anniversary and has been followed by controversy for much of that. ESPN.com's Brett Okamoto explained UFC 232 was moved from Las Vegas to The Forum in Inglewood, California, after Jones tested positive for the same M3 metabolite that was flagged prior to his July 2017 defeat of Daniel Cormier, later deemed a no-contest.
The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) ruled the trace amount found in Jones' body was consistent with "residual amounts" found in his positive 2017 test. However, the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) would not grant him a licence for the fight given it was so close to the event.
The California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) granted Jones a licence to fight again earlier in December, and so UFC 232 was moved there to accommodate the main event.
Anderson is up to sixth in the UFC's light heavyweight rankings following his third consecutive victory, matching his best streak of success since joining the promotion in 2014 when he won The Ultimate Fighter 19.
The 29-year-old has been campaigning for a fight against "Bones" since his decisive victory over Latifi and concluded: "Hey Jon, if you watching, let's go. All the smoke baby. You said, do I want the smoke? I want it all. Chain smoke. Cigar smoke. Weed smoke. Crack smoke. Whatever you smokin', blow it in my face. Let's get it."
However, there is also speculation Jones could take on light heavyweight contender Anthony Smith, ranked third in the division:
Jones is back at the UFC pinnacle despite criticism from fans and fellow fighters alike, with Anderson the latest to issue a challenge in the hopes he can end Bones' unbeaten streak.