It’s almost time for UFC 239, where reigning light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will put his title on the line against the dangerous and explosive striker Thiago Santos.
Jones has looked as good as ever since returning to the sport late last year, winning a rematch with Alexander Gustafsson to reclaim the belt. He went on to defend it against Anthony Smith and has continued on his quest to remain more active after a year of downtime.
As the fight draws close, media obligations materialize. The champ has emerged from his training camp and is offering everything from advice toward young fighters to insights about a potential third fight with his greatest adversary.
Jones spoke about the topic of manager pay, noting how many young fighters get bad deals. He said that it is important to have managers that help you and push you, but that it is also important they aren’t expecting too much.
Jones said fighters should pay their managers between 10-15%; never the 20% many fighters seem to be handing over. He said that if managers want more pay, they should do more to help the fighter. This includes more than just contract negotiations. It involves reaching out for endorsements to help fighters grow their brand.
Jones’s manager Abraham Kawa of First Round Management commented on the post, noting how he always did Jones right. Jones agreed, saying he appreciated Kawa so much. Jones hasn’t been an easy talent to manage. Multiple drug-related suspensions, trouble with the law, and a host of other issues have plagued the young talent. Maybe now, in his early 30s, Jones can finally relax a bit.
Of course, when you’re Jon Jones, there’s very little time to relax. That’s because everyone wants a shot at one of the few undefeated fighters in the game. Jones is one of only a handful of men to remain unbeaten despite winning a championship – and there are always rumblings about who his next opponent could be.
Daniel Cormier has already been entertaining the idea of a third fight with Jones. Cormier has been bested by Jones twice, though their second meeting was overturned to a no contest after Jones tested positive for Turinabol. Cormier said if he had another fight after his upcoming bout with Miocic, it would have to be Jones.
Jones remains the only man ever to beat Cormier, so it is easy to see why Cormier wants the win back. Jones doubts it will happen though, telling Cormier, “don’t forget your wolf tickets.” The sentiment is that Cormier won’t make the fight happen – but will he?
Much of the disagreement is about where a third fight should happen. Cormier is a heavyweight now like he was early in his career. Jones is likely destined for the division but hasn’t made the jump yet. Going right into it against arguably the greatest to ever do it, is risky. Even though he beat Cormier at light heavyweight, Cormier with full mass and full energy is a different beast.