Heading into the new year, Jon Jones will be adopting legendary boxer Muhammad Ali's mindset.
The former UFC light heavyweight champion tweeted from his official account on Friday that he would follow his personal hero's mantra as the world rung in the new year last night.
The quote Jon Jones chose is part of Muhammad Ali's I Am The Greatest album from back when he was named Cassius Clay, before his conversion to Islam. It was a comedy album released to trash talk Ali's next opponent at the time, Sonny Liston.
Instead of being listed as "tracks" the recitations of the album were called "rounds". The album had eight rounds, implying that Ali would knock Liston out in eight rounds. The actual fight was even shorter, as Liston gave up after six rounds, resulting in Ali's upset win. I Am The Greatest was nominated for the Grammy Best Award for Best Comedy Performance, and the poems are considered to be the precursor of hip-hop music.
Ali released the album in August 1963, six months before he won the world heavyweight championship.
Jon Jones shared an emotional message minutes after Muhammad Ali's passing
Muhammad Ali has always been an inspiration for Jon Jones. Early on in his career, 'Bones' and his meteoric rise in UFC was compared to that of Ali's. Jon Jones became the youngest UFC champion after beating 'Shogun' Rua at UFC 128 in 2011. In one of their later issues, UFC Magazine acknowledged the similarities between him and Ali with a recreation of Ali's legendary underwater photoshoot for Time Magazine in 1960.
Following Muhammad Ali's death in 2016, Jon Jones posted a video on Instagram, sharing a heartfelt message on how the boxer had inspired him both in life and his fighting career.
"Only a few minutes away from Muhammad Ali's passing, I'll never forget this historic moment. Muhammad Ali has been a huge inspiration to me, not only in my personal life but in my fighting career. He taught me the importance of self-belief. No matter what people said, no matter what the situation was, he showed me that it's OK to just believe in yourself."
Jon Jones vacated his light heavyweight title last year and is preparing to move up to heavyweight next year. For that, he has been training hundreds of rounds with fellow UFC heavyweights Alistair Overeem, Travis Browne, and Andrei Arlovski.Published 02 Jan 2021, 02:38 IST