What is an ego?
Webster’s Dictionary surely has some nice and concise definition for us all, but this isn’t Webster’s website, so allow me.
When I think of ego, or an egotist, to be more specific, I think of someone who puts themselves on a platform. A man who scoffs at the idea of being “one of the guys.” A man, who at times, can be perceived to be a loud-mouth, attention seeking, braggart.
Ego isn’t limited to class, it’s not limited to race, color, or creed. And I challenge anyone to give an exact definition of what “ego” actually means. Sometimes, it’s just as simple as a feeling.
Kanye West, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Madonna, Floyd Mayweather–they’ve all been accused of having larger-than-life egos. They all have–at some point or another–rubbed the social pop-conscience in the wrong way.
But through it all, they’ve remained at the top of their given craft. By definition, they are all winners.
Enter UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, and recent “winner,” Jon Jones. Who on Saturday night, capped off one of the UFC’s most amazing cards, with arguably his most amazing performance.
But we will get to that in a second.
At a time when Mr. Jones should be showered in waves of praise, the reaction the youngest champion in UFC history, is rather mixed. In fact, ‘mixed‘ is putting it kindly. Just look at Friday’s weigh ins for perspective. Jones was showered with a resounding echo of boos, and shook it off with a shrug and smile, with a look that said, “Don’t worry, you’ll come around.”
It’s quite odd that the companies most exciting, and arguably most marketable fighter, is feeling the heat from the sports loyal fan base.
He did compare himself to Muhammad Ali and Bruce Lee, though.
Then there was the whole, saying he doesn’t like to sign replica belts for fans. To paraphrase; Jones had put in too much work to get the belt, so why should a fan be able to own his belt, “I never sign them,” Jones stated.
Oh, and before Jones won the title from Mauricio “Shogun” Rua back in early 2011, Jon was signing “Champion 2011” after giving autographs to fans.
Talk about ego.
On Saturday night at UFC 140, Jones showed us all why, ego or not, he may very well be the greatest fighter on the planet, as he dispatched of Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida in the toughest fight of his career.
The opening round saw Jones in complete disarray. With Machida methodically working his textbook, counter-punching, karate style that his has been immortalized for, Jones spent most of round one looking like a defeated fighter. A lesser fighter.
It had seemed, after round one, that Jones had met his match. Machida landed jabs, uppercuts, and coupled his striking with amazing timing and lateral movement. As the horn sounded on the start of round two, Jones looked, for the first time in his fighting career, worried.
Something happened to Jones coming into round two, though. Something every legendary fighter has to realize on his way to greatness–when faced with adversity, it’s either fight or flight.
Making the correct adjustments, Jones entered round two with a sense of purpose. As Jones stalked Machida, a wild “Dragon” opened up with a flurry of punches that left himself vulnerable. As the fight moved to the ground, “Bones” landed a ripping elbow to the forehead of Machida, that left a wide gash above his eye, and had the ringside doctor briefly halting the action to inspect the damage.
After a continuance was granted, and with blood streaming down his face, an overzealous Machida lunged in for a hooking combination, and Jones snatched at the chance of victory.
With just a few short knees later, and a standing guillotine in place, an unconscious Machida teetered to the canvas, and fell flat on his face–eyes wide open.
And with that Jon Jones put the MMA world on blast.
Over the past nine months, Jon Jones has went from a rising upstart to the face of the company. In just over three years, Jones has went from training in his basement and watching YouTube fights, to being the most feared fighter in combat sports since Mike Tyson.
Jones, much like Tyson, became the youngest champion in the history of his sport. Both fighters looked “championship ready” from a very young age, effectively throttling challengers on their way to legendary careers.
Tyson presented an in-your-face, all out approach, that was the definition of violence. He left a laundry list of fallen opponents, quivering in his wake, as he supplanted himself atop the fighting world in the 1980’s. All the while, “Iron Mike” boasted one of the largest egos in the history of mankind.
Word to Napoleon Bonaparte.
For Jones, his rise may not have the sheer power and brute strength of Tyson’s heyday, but try telling Mauricio Rua, Rampage Jackson, Stephan Bonnar, Ryan Bader, Brandon Vera, and Lyoto Machida, that Jon Jones isn’t the “world’s most dangerous man.”
Jones possesses, by far, the most varied and exciting skill-set in MMA today. And with each gaining month, Jones adds to his toolbox, visibly getting better on a fight-by-fight basis–something Tyson wrote the book on.
Both Tyson and Jones ran roughshod through their respective sport. And although not as blatantly violent as Tyson’s, Jon Jones still carries a Kanye-esque ego wherever he goes.
Allow me to let you in on one very important little secret; every successful person on this Earth has an ego. Even if they won’t admit it.
Ego, is what got Mike Tyson to the pinnacle of boxing superstardom. It’s what made Michael Jordan a 6-time World Champion. It’s what gave Tiger Woods a whole lot of trophies, and a shiny new divorce.
My bad, Tiger.
Ego is at the foundation of success. As the old saying goes, “Why do something, if you’re not going to be the best.”
Does Jon Jones have an ego? That’s for you to decide.
Does it matter? Not as long as he keeps fighting like he did Saturday night.
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