UFC light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones will celebrate his birthday, the big 26, on July 19. So now that he’s growing up, he might want to start showing a bit more respect for his MMA elders.
Jones may have his name on Nike T-Shirts, shoes and his posters up on Chael Sonnen’s bedroom wall, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for the MMA superstar to grow, well not physically, but in terms of maturity.
Jones recently told mmamania.com that he has no interest in fighting UFC legend Dan Henderson because Hendo is “really starting to slow down” and that he’s “a lot older” and that he’s a guy who “a lot of people would expect me to beat anyways.”
Hmm, and Jones wonders why he gets booed at live MMA events?
There’s a reason why your father always told you to give a firm handshake, refer to your elders as “Sir” or “Mrs.” and make eye contact when you talk to them. It’s called respect for your elders and UFC champ Jones needs to understand that, quick.
Sure, with a 17-year age difference, Henderson is old enough to be Jones father. And yes Henderson grew up on Super Mario Brothers, not Halo. But that doesn’t give Jones the right to talk about Henderson like he’s the television grandpa who tipped out of his wheelchair while muttering, “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up.”
This is Dan freakin’ Henderson, the legend who helped revolutionize MMA, who is still fighting at 42 and likely will fight until he’s 45 years old. Not to mention, if Henderson were to actually step into the cage against Jones, and hit him on the mouth, it’s safe to say that Jones would enjoy a good rest inside the Octagon, on his back, Anderson Silva style.
In case Jones doesn’t remember, or doesn’t have access to the Internet, let’s remind him of this. Henderson was shredding men inside the Octagon long before goobers around the world were hanging on every one of UFC President Dana White’s tweets. Henderson was fighting to near-death in Japan’s PRIDE Fighting Championship, knocking out the likes of Wanderlei Silva, in dramatic fashion. He highlight-reel knocked out Michael Bisping at the height of Bisping’s career.
And of course, Henderson KO’d the great Fedor Emelianenko in Strikeforce, an amazing feat even if Fedor somehow toward the end of his career figured out a way to lose to Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva.
The point is Jones is good, possibly great. He’s young and ahead of everyone he’s faced in the light heavyweight division. With two brothers in the NFL, Jones has great genetics and a work ethic inside the cage to match. But still, it’s fighting. And when two grown men step into the cage, there’s no room for overconfidence and arrogance, even if you have Philippians 4:13 plastered across your chest.
Jones has a way of irking people. That’s all fine and dandy when you are leading the pack, but Jones won’t be able to freeze time and stay forever young, no matter what Rod Stewart says (bet Henderson knows that song pretty well).
At 25 years old it might seem unnecessary to be overly respectful and gracious around your elders.
But every fighter will be old one day, if he or she is lucky, and showing a little respect will go a long way toward proving what kind of a real man you are on the inside. Not to mention, if Henderson actually gets into the cage with Jones, Henderson might show him that you may not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, but some old dogs bite really, really hard.