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Jon Jones talks Chael Sonnen, the heavyweight class and more at UFC on Fox 6

Light heavyweight champion held Q&A before weigh-in Friday

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Denise Truscello/WireImage/DeniseTruscello.net

Jon “Bones” Jones at the 2013 Fighters Only World Mixed Martial Arts Awards at The Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel on Friday, Jan. 11, 2013.

Jon Jones’ image is on the rebound.

The 25-year-old UFC light heavyweight champion, who’s perhaps the most talented fighter to ever step into the octagon, had a rough year in 2012. He became the butt of many jokes when he was arrested for DWI and the subject of much vitriol when UFC 151 was canceled.

The fans who filled the Chicago Theatre before the UFC on Fox 6 weigh-in Friday afternoon seemed to hardly remember. Jones answered fan questions for 45 minutes, and could have gone longer if the UFC didn’t pull him away.

Jones touched on everything topical about his career at the moment — his stint as a coach on “The Ultimate Fighter”, his upcoming bout with Chael Sonnen at UFC 159 and his imminent move to heavyweight.

Find a transcript of some of the highlights from Jones’ question-and-answer session below.

On the biggest challenge of coaching on “TUF”

"Not teaching the guys techniques that were just too much. You have six weeks to train the guys and it’s hard to really implement techniques where you just learn. It takes time to get it down to where you can use it in actual combat.”

On holding no grudge with Sonnen on “TUF”

“Over the course of the first week I realized our eye contact was real sincere. He had no beef with me. He just wanted to talk and focus on coaching. I respect that. That was cool with me.”

On Sonnen’s trash talking

“He plays an important role to the sport with his (WWE) antics and stuff like that. I just watched my first WWE show just recently and I was really impressed by it. The entertainment factor is gigantic. I think Chael doing it is good for the sport. You might start hearing me talk a little more crap in the future. Just a little.”

On not falling into the same traps Anderson Silva did the first time he fought Sonnen

I think it’s a lot different. I think me and Anderson’s physical strength is a lot different and my ability to wrestle. I’ve been wrestling since I was a little boy and Anderson hasn’t, so I just couldn’t imagine being controlled like that by Chael. What really surprised me was Chael being able to drop Anderson with his hands so many times. Maybe he hits a little harder than we expect. I was more impressed with his punching power than all the takedowns.”

On Vitor Belfort calling him out after his UFC on FX 6 victory

“Vitor is a great guy. I respect him a lot. I think he got really emotional with Sao Paulo, the Brazilian audience and he just got all fired up and ended up calling me out. That’s not a fight I’m seeking. If he comes to the light heavyweight division and works his way to the title then I’d love to do it again.”

On when he plans to move from light heavyweight to heavyweight

“I’ve got a nutritionist now so I’ve been making weight a lot easier, staying into shape when I’m in the offseason and things like that. So I think heavyweight is going to be prolonged into 2014, maybe late this year.”

Response when a fan suggested he should face former Strikeforce champion Daniel Cormier first at heavyweight

“That guy’s going to have to come and get me (at light heavyweight). He’s been talking all that trash. I’m making him cut that weight.”

On fighting heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez

“I’ve never thought about it, man. I have no intentions of fighting Cain. I think it would be a war. Cain won’t put up with my foolishness.”

On if he would be hesitant to fight anyone, like Alistair Overeem, at heavyweight

“I would love to fight Overeem. I would fight anybody anytime. I’m smaller than all those guys. I train with heavyweights all the time. I know it would be a major challenge to fight all those guys right now. But if I can get to 235, 240, I would fight any of those guys with great confidence.”

On four of his last six victories coming by submission

“I think it’s just the way the fights have gone. It’s crazy because I don’t train jiu-jitsu a lot. I’ve been getting a lot of submissions. It’s just a lot of lucky situations. I’ve been finding my mark.”

On opponents, including Sonnen, that have trash talked him before a fight

“Not much gets to me. Rashad Evans was the toughest because he actually knows me. Not knowing what he was going to share with the public, I was like, ‘am I really taking this? There’s guy code here.’ So I think that was the toughest fight with Rashad, not knowing how far he was going to take it. But everything else has been like a show. Chael is just whack. He says the same jokes all the time and half of his stuff is written.”

On which of his 12 UFC opponents hit him the hardest

”I would have to say Lyoto Machida. He caught me flush.”

On jobs he held before fighting

“I worked at Hollister before I was a fighter. I was a Hollister kid. Come on, don’t judge me. I worked at Hollister, Auntie Anne's pretzels, a paper boy and a college student.”

On which position he would play in the NFL and why he didn’t make it there like his siblings (older brother Arthur Jones plays defensive line for the Baltimore Ravens and younger brother Chandler Jones is a defensive end for the New England Patriots)

“I’m pretty tall and skinny, so they would probably have me as a wide receiver, a d-back or a cornerback. Something like that. I was terrible at all the skill positions (in high school) so they put me at defensive line and I was just too small and terrible. I make a great water boy, Gatorade boy, beer boy but I was a terrible football player.”

On which opponent he would most like to face again

“I would give Rashad a rematch, so I could finish him this time.”

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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