Tonawanda News

Sports

September 21, 2013

Jones accepts Gustafsson's challenge at UFC 165

Tonawanda News — Jon Jones saw all the zeros next to Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s name. He knows how much money the world’s best boxer made while dominating his opponent last weekend.

If Jones does something similar to Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165 in Toronto this weekend, he realizes the reward for being arguably the world’s top mixed martial artist is only a fraction of Mayweather’s $40 million-plus payday.

And it doesn’t bother the UFC light heavyweight champion at all.

“I’m grateful to make the money I make,” Jones said. “As a 26-year-old, I never would have imagined being in this position. And I’m also a person that doesn’t believe money is the key to life or happiness.”

Jones (18-1) is the UFC’s main attraction at Air Canada Centre on Saturday when he steps into the octagon with Sweden’s Gustafsson (15-1), the latest 205-pounder to take a shot at ending Jones’ 2½-year championship reign. If Jones wins, he’ll break Tito Ortiz’s promotion record with his sixth successful title defense.

But MMA’s probable pound-for-pound champion won’t get anything near the jaw-dropping reward given to Mayweather for schooling Saul Alvarez. The financial disparities for the stars of these related sports have been topics of contention for years.

But don’t look for any indignation from Jones, who also has endorsement deals with Nike and Gatorade. The MMA champion and his two NFL-star brothers grew up on discounted school lunches, and he’s willing to be patient with a young sport he picked up just six years ago.

“Just being comfortable makes me happy,” he said. “I don’t need those type of paydays. Would it be nice? It would be great to get paid the way other pro athletes get paid. I believe it will come. I’m just going to keep doing my part. ... If somebody is going to pay me over a million dollars to fight, do you think I’m going to talk trash about that? No way. I’m so happy. I think $40 million, that’s like ridiculous, in a good way.”

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