Perhaps it's because he found success so quickly in the UFC, perhaps it's because he's beaten some legendary fan favorites, perhaps it's because he's admittedly a little arrogant while also being young, rich and black. Maybe it's a little bit of all of these things.
But, for whatever combination of reasons, UFC champion Jon Jones seems to get an inordinate amount of hate from fans. Saturday night at UFC 172, Jones got plenty of cheers from the Baltimore crowd, however, and it felt good.
"It was just great to have the crowd on my side again," said Jones at the UFC 172 post fight press conference (full video below).
Jones paid homage to retired Baltimore Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis as he headed to the Octagon with a little hot-dogging and the arena crowd ate it up. So did Lewis, who is in attendance along with Jones' NFL-player brothers, Arthur (a former Raven) and Chandler.
"It has been a long time since I've had cheers. I figured it would be that way so I said let me really embrace this, let me really give this audience some entertainment. So it was just great. I was living it up. I figured Ray Lewis would be there, a lot of Ravens would be there, so I was just playing it up, and practiced that dance all day, and aced it, I hear. I haven't seen it yet. Ray was happy and, yeah, I'm happy," Jones said.
Jon Jones getting his Ray Lewis on:
Apparently the people of Baltimore didn't begrudge Arthur for taking a big new contract with the Colts and leaving the Ravens. "The people of Baltimore...they still respect [Arthur] a lot. Arthur gets a great reception here… It's great to see that the love is still there. And obviously it trickled into my world, too - I got a lot of respect, and a lot of cheers, which made me feel amazing. I really do appreciate it. I mean the boos I've learned to live with, but it's so rewarding to get some love and respect for once," Jones said.
Do you think Jones will continue to get the reception he deserves from fans moving forward? Well, other than if he fights Alexander Gustafsson in Sweden, of course.
Let us know in the comments section!
Watch the full UFC 172 post-event press conference below: