Life has been a crash course for Jon Jones during the last 30 months.
The 30-year-old former UFC light-heavyweight champion re-emerges Saturday night at Honda Center against champion Daniel Cormier at UFC 214. Jones says the journey has toughened him, creating a better version of the organization’s former pound-for-pound No. 1 fighter.
“I’ve come to expect more out of myself – as a citizen, as a man, as an athlete – to reach a better place, a place I’ve never been,” Jones said. “I’m just loaded with good energy right now and I’m excited to take all this with me into the octagon.”
Waiting for him there will be the man who’s proven to be the most eager to remind Jones of his failings.
The 38-year-old Cormier has been continually in Jones’ face, contributing to their 2014 news conference fight and prodding the former champion over each of the slips during Jones’ extended fall from grace.
Jones submitted a positive cocaine test days before the Jan. 3, 2015, unanimous-decision victory over Cormier. Weeks later, he injured a pregnant woman in a car crash as Jones scurried from his vehicle with a wad of cash, triggering a brief jailing and the stripping of his belt.