The UFC light-heavyweight belt has been connected to Jon Jones since his first reign started in 2011. His dominance of the division was truly astonishing but it wasn’t long before Jones fell into a cliched but rarely avoided trap. Being such a young superstar often comes with pitfalls. During the early stages of “Bones’” UFC career, we saw flashes of this. Rumors of his lavish partying and excess were somewhat validated when Jones wrote off a luxury Bentley during a DUI he’d bought with his UFC salary.
Later came the real controversy as Jones was involved in a hit-and-run in New Mexico, losing his UFC title in the process. For all his talent and dominance, Jones was rapidly becoming another cautionary tale of combat sports. When you give a young and reckless man money and fame, he will often use it to catch trouble. In Jones’ case, his catcher’s mitt was just getting waxed up.
Later came the drug test failures, multiple times “Bones” was caught with both recreational and performance-enhancing drugs in his system. Fans cried foul, some defended him while accusations of career-long doping arose. “Bones” returned successfully, again, at UFC 232 with a TKO stoppage of Alexander Gustafsson. The two had previously fought in an all-out war at UFC 165. The rematch, as is quite often the case, was a far cry from their first bout.
Jones would outclass, outstrike and eventually pound out his Swedish foe. For the third time, “Bones” was back in the throne, picograms be damned. But what was next for the ever-boasting boss at 205 pounds.
Everyone was expecting the UFC 232 PPV to be a huge return to dominance for Jones on the PPV side of things. It turns out that all the extra attention from fight week didn’t help the numbers at all. UFC insider Dave Meltzer recently reported the numbers on his podcast and their at an all time low for Jones:
“The Jones Vs Gustaffson pay per view didn’t do that great. The numbers are trending around 200-250K. The UFC was expecting to reach 600k at a minimum to break even after moving the event from Vegas.”
According to UFC president Dana White, just two weeks after UFC 232, Jones has already filed for his NSAC license. The target for the first title defense of his latest reign is none other than Anthony Smith. Smith is coming off straight wins over Volkan Oezdemir, Shogun Rua and Rashad Evans.