Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting is the first person to speak in depth with Jon Jones following his accident, arrest and suspension from the UFC. Now the fighter is looking to make a comeback and spent an hour with Helwani talking about what the last six months have been like for him.
These are the five most eye-opening quotes from Jones during that interview:
1. Jon Jones didn't miss the UFC while he was gone.
"It was a weird night watching Daniel (Cormier) and Anthony (Johnson) fight for my championship, so that was one of those moments where I was like 'Oh my goodness. I should be in there,' but outside of that moment, no. I really don't miss it that much."
2. Jones realizes this is a second chance for him and he's glad his problems happened now.
"In a way I'm grateful. I get to recognize my mistakes. I get to assess what's made me not necessarily the best role model. I get to assess that and I get to alter that and go back into the game and do things better. To become a better role model, and a better athlete. I got to retire almost. Now I get to get back in the game still young enough, still fresh enough to have a serious future."
3. Continuing to win hid Jones' problems, even from himself.
"I had a lot of my mentors, coaches and friends tell me that 'Jon, you party with the best of them and you're still able to beat the top fighters in the world,' but at the time I really didn't feel like it was an issue. I was winning my fights. I finished half my opponents since being a champion and I've only had very few guys go to a decision with me. I felt no pressure to stop being such a wild guy because of how well things were going."
4. Jon Jones opened up about what happened the day of his car accident.
I was afraid. I freaked out. I was afraid to speak to the police at that time. I thought 'Let me just get away from this' [...] I just had tunnel vision. I definitely hit hard and I'm sitting here thinking 'I need to go. I need to get away from this.' So I started running and got maybe five yards away from my car and I remembered I had a bowl, a marijuana bowl in my cup holder. I knew that if the police found that bowl in my car that everything was going to be so much worse than I thought it should be, I guess."
5. Ronda Rousey played a huge role in getting Jones back on his feet.
"Ronda has been very supportive of me. She texted me quite a few times. She even invited me to come and stay at her beach house in California. She said "Jon, you're going to come back from this. If there's anything I can do for you, let me know. If you want to get away I've got a house here that not many people know where it's at and it's your house until you get right." Stuff like that, it's like man -- this girl is on top of the world right now and she's sitting here thinking of me at my darkest hour. That's something I'll never forget."