Jon Jones is arguably the greatest talent the sport of mixed martial arts has ever seen but he’s been competing at far less than 100-percent ever since he arrived in the UFC.
In Jones’ case, he hasn’t been dealing with some sort of nagging injury or an internal illness that kept him from performing at full speed.
In actuality, Jones has been his own worst enemy while partying and drinking throughout his training camps and even going as far as getting black out drunk just days away from stepping into the Octagon.
“I had this crazy thing that I would do where I would party one week before every fight and I did that throughout my whole career. It was stupid but it was this mental crutch that I had. I literally would one week before every fight, I would go out, I would get blacked out wasted,” Jones revealed when speaking to Joe Rogan on his podcast.
“My logic was if this guy was to beat me somehow I can look myself in the mirror and say that I lost because I got hammered the week before the fight. It was a safety net. I did it my whole career. I would go out and get hammered one week before every fight.”
Despite those ill advised decisions ahead of his fights, Jones continued to win so he was never forced to change the way he prepared for his opponents because the formula kept working.
In 2013, Jones faced his toughest matchup to date when he went to war with Alexander Gustafsson for five rounds before narrowly winning a unanimous decision. Afterwards, Jones admitted that he wasn’t fully prepared for the fight and it led to a less than impressive performance.
Jones touched on that fight while speaking with Rogan and said that he definitely trained for Gustafsson, but it was the outside issues away from the gym that truly affected him in that bout.
“I had this feeling that I was invincible and I did a lot of wild stuff leading up to that fight,” Jones said. “I definitely didn’t give it my all. Mainly partying, drinking, staying up all night.”
Jones says during those days he was the life of the party and his friends always knew who to call when Friday nights rolled around.
“My phone used to blow up on Friday nights because everybody knew that Jon was going to be buying everything that people needed,” Jones said. “I was the guy who went to the bar and I would just buy 40 shots of Patron and literally if you’re standing around me, you’re getting a shot of Patron.”
Following a 2015 hit-and-run accident that ended with Jones being placed under arrest, his title stripped away and hit with an indefinite suspension by the UFC, he finally started to realize that he was throwing away his entire career.
Watching Daniel Cormier and Anthony “Rumble” Johnson compete for his light heavyweight title just weeks after that arrest ultimately served as the wake up call that Jones needed to clean his life up.
While Jones did enter into a single day of rehabilitation during that stretch of time while he was suspended, he says it was really his own will power that led to a change in his lifestyle.
“I stopped answering my phone calls for a lot of people and I just went into hiding for a while. I just stayed away from the scene until I felt like I was strong enough not to do it. It helped a lot,” Jones said.
Since that altercation in 2015, Jones says he hasn’t had a drop of alcohol although he will still go to bars with friends from time to time. According to the former UFC champion, he’s now able to sit around other people drinking and partying without the temptation to join in.
“Now I’ve been sober for almost 16 months and now I have the best times,” Jones said. “I remember everything that happens. My friends don’t try to ever encourage me to drink or anything and they know I’m not going to. I just have the best times.”