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Exclusive interview with UFC champion Jon Jones

MF meets UFC champion Jon Jones | Men's Fitness UK
(Image credit: Unknown)

You’ve referred to Bruce Lee as an inspiration. What do you take from him into the Octagon?
I use his philosophy of crashing and flowing with my standup. It’s all about visualising going from zero to 100 and striking like a cobra. I try to stay completely relaxed and cerebral at all times when I’m fighting until the moment of impact, when it’s time to explode. Once I see an opening I go from a wave to a tsunami and crash through it. That definitely helps me to move faster.

When did you make the decision to take up MMA full-time?
Having a kid unexpectedly was an eye-opener. [Jones’s eldest child was born in July 2008 when Jones was 20.] It immediately made MMA something I wasn’t doing as a hobby anymore. It became something I had to succeed at – I absolutely had to. Failure wasn’t an option because I needed the money to provide shelter for my family, so that really helped to drive me.

In your opinion, what values should a martial artist stand for?
Throughout history martial artists have always been men of integrity. They were the men who ate with kings and held themselves to a different standard. They spoke softly and carried a big stick. They were good people who cared about those around them. That’s what I’m trying to bring to 2012 to some extent.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
[Leading MMA coach] Greg Jackson told me to that in order to create a masterpiece you have to immerse yourself in everything you do and give yourself fully to every performance. It’s like Picasso: he didn’t make the art he made by half-doing it, it was who he was as a person, it was how he felt and everything about him came out in his work.

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Sam Razvi wrote for Men’s Fitness UK (which predated and then shared a website with Coach) between 2011 and 2016.