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Mitrione wants to fight 'arrogant' Jon Jones

ESPN staff
September 6, 2012 « British pair declared for Irish Champion Stakes | Chartbeat test »

Matt Mitrione has told the UFC he will happily welcome Jon Jones to the heavyweight division, if the reigning light-heavyweight champion decides to make the move up a level.

Mitrione admits he used to be a fan of Jones, but changed his mind due to the recent cancellation of UFC 151. Jones turned down a fight with Chael Sonnen on eight days' notice, costing the company and fellow fighters significant amounts of money.

"Over time he (Jones) went from a pretty cool guy, humble, to as arrogant as I can handle," Mitrione said on The MMA Hour. "He seems really disingenuous, blah, not my flavour of a human being.

"I even told [UFC matchmaker] Joe Silva, if he talks of going to heavyweight, I'd love to welcome Jon Jones to heavyweight. I'd love to try and punch you in the face."

Elaborating on why he thought Jones was to blame for the cancellation of UFC 151, rather than Dan Henderson - who withdrew from the main event due to injury, or the UFC - which had not arranged a strong enough card to adjust, Mitrione explained that Jones has a duty as the company's leading brand.

"I'm not a fan of Jon Jones as a person, but I like him as a fighter. He's athletic, has a lot of talent. As a fighter, I understand why he said 'No' [to fighting Chael Sonnen].

"[But] you're being paid a pretty ridiculous amount of money, branded the face of UFC, the face of a new division at Nike, there's some responsibility you have. At some point it doesn't matter who it is, let's get down and dance.

"I don't see Alistair Overeem, Junior Dos Santos, or Cain Velasquez saying no to a fight with any heavyweight," Mitrione said. "I think that Jon should have taken it because of the situation he's been put in and what he's been given. To whom a lot has been given, a lot is expected."

Asked if he could beat Jones, Mitrione responded: "Yeah, I think I can beat Jon Jones. I think on a good day I can beat anyone in the world."

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