According to an April 30 post from Bleacher Report, Jon Jones' post-UFC 172 antics may have cost him some of the fan support he had gained in the days leading up to the event. Jones, 26, seemed to want to get past his villainous image heading into UFC 172, but his actions following the event seem to hint he's interested in hanging onto the heel role a bit longer.
Shortly after his UFC 172 bout against Glover Teixeira, Jones took to Instagram to post snarky comments about Phil Davis' lackluster performance against Anthony Johnson. In another video posted to his social media pages, Jones mocked MMA legend Chuck Liddell, who had predicted that Teixeira would beat him at UFC 172. Jones then posted a third video, mocking MMA fans who were upset over the two eye-pokes he landed in the opening round against Teixeira.
Jones' post-UFC 172 antics came as a major surprise to most UFC fans, because they saw he was working hard to clean up his image prior to the Baltimore event. During the UFC 172 weigh-ins, Jones gave a shoutout to the military and walked out to the stage with his brother, former Baltimore Ravens star Arthur Jones, by his side. Jones' actions at the weigh-ins showed he was dedicated to earning some cheers from the crowd at UFC 172. There would be no heel-turn that day.
After his UFC 172 victory, Jones said during the post-fight presser that it was nice to have the crowd behind him and to receive some cheers for the hard work he put in. It seemed he was making a clear face turn, after years of playing the role of the heel. Less than a week following the event, it now appears Jones isn't interested in a heroic image.
Jones has been one of the most polarizing figures in the MMA realm since he became UFC champion in 2011. In the past, Jones has come under fire for everything from his cocky attitude to his DUI arrest. Jones was also criticized for not accepting a fight against Dan Henderson, a decision that led to the entire UFC 151 event getting scrapped.
Despite the backlash against him, Jones has kept his composure in the cage. Since beating "Shogun" Rua in 2011, to become the youngest light heavyweight champ in UFC history, Jones has defended his UFC strap seven times. Jones knocked out Chael Sonnen at UFC 159, choked Lyoto Machida unconscious at UFC 140 and tapped out Quinton Jackson at UFC 135.
Jones also demolished Glover Teixeira and earned a hard-fought victory over Alexander Gustafsson. Most importantly, he showed growth as a human being. UFC President Dana White praised him for his maturity, and says he's a different guy than the one who was arrested for DUI a couple years back.
White doesn't have to worry anymore about waking up to news of Jones drinking drunk or making offensive comments on social media. Jones is clearly more mature than he was in the past. But now it's up to him to decide if he wants to be a lovable bad guy, or a beloved champion that fans can get behind.
Jones probably knows that haters are going to hate, but they are also going to buy his pay-per-views. Even if Jones' critics purchase his fights just to boo and criticize him, he still wins because he'll be earning cash from the pay-per-view credits. With that said, don't expect Jones to quit playing up the heel antics any time soon.