• TUF 17

Jon Jones: I got turned down for TUF

ESPN staff
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Jon Jones became UFC champion at the age of 23 © Getty Images
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Jon Jones has revealed he tried out to become a competitor on The Ultimate Fighter reality series as a 20-year-old, and was turned down by UFC president Dana White.

Jones, who won the light-heavyweight title aged 23, was turned away by White three years earlier because he was deemed to be too young.

"I tried out for The Ultimate Fighter back when I was 20-years-old," Jones was quoted as saying by MMA Junkie.

"I remember making it through the first round and then approaching a table to grapple for the second round and having Dana saying, 'Man, you're too young. You're 20-years-old, and you have to be 21 to apply for this show, but we're going to let you roll anyways. But you can't go much further than this.'

"I was like, 'Alright'. I was rolling and having a great time, and that was it. That was the end of the scenario."

By contrast, the older Chael Sonnen was offered a spot on series one of TUF, but turned it down. Reflecting on that decision, he admits it is something he regrets.

"When the show very first started, the first coaches ever were my coach, friend, team-mate Randy Couture v Chuck Liddell - arguably the greatest light-heavyweight ever," Sonnen said.

"They asked me to be on the show as an athlete, and I passed on the chance. It was on a different network at that time, but an executive at that office invited me on as an athlete. Then I loved the show.

"I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know what it was. I sat down and watched it, and I regretted that decision. I really enjoyed watching it, and all these years later, here I am."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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