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    MMA phenom, Jon Jones, on A�battling inner demons and A�his forthcoming fight

    Some say, Jon Jones, peaked early. At 23, he became the youngest champion in the history of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Five years later, this Rochester-based mixed martial arts athlete (MMA) is still going strong, ranked number one in the light heavyweight division. But prior to his headlining match at UFC 197 in Las Vegas a�� where he hopes to defeat title contender Ovince Saint Preux a�� a�?Bonesa�? Jones has had to overcome quite a few career roadblocks. Last April, amongst allegations of cocaine usage, multiple traffic transgressions and his involvement in a hit-and-run incident, UFC stripped him of his light heavyweight title and suspended him for six months. a�?Ia��m excited to show the world that you can come back from anything, if youa��re willing to fight for it,a�? claims Jones.

    Fighting fit
    With an arsenal of signature moves including spinning back elbows, unorthodox oblique kicks and well-controlled explosive takedowns, the 28-year-old has racked up an impressive UFC record of 21-1-0 (wins-loses-draws). In order to regain his championship belt, Jones has made considerable changes to his physical training regime and fighting style by adding masterclass Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners, Roberto Tussa Alencar and Rafael Freitas, to his entourage. a�?I felt it was time to start focusing on martial arts. Ia��ve spent extra time focusing on speed and flexibility,a�? he shares, elaborating, a�?I feel stronger and a bit more explosive. Though my weight is lower than normal, I feel like I can hit harder. Also, my cardio is a lot higher than it normally is and I feel like as if I can use all this to my advantage.a�?

    Positivity rules
    The son of a pastor and a nurse, it doesna��t take much to notice that the martial artiste is a deeply religious individual (with a�?Philippians 4:13a�� tattooed across his chest). But, he isna��t the only athlete in the family. His brothers, Arthur and Chandler Jones, play in the NFL and the fighter admits he loves watching them play when he isna��t training for fights. a�?Ia��ve made some tremendous changes in my life. Ia��ve gotten rid of a lot of people whom I think I shouldna��t have been around in the first place. Ia��ve really started to reach and grab onto people who are positive, people who do the right things, and people who want to see me do well. Things have been getting a lot better for me every day,a�? he signs off.
    April 24. 7.30 am onwards on Sony ESPN. Details: sonysix.com

    a�� Anoop Menon


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