Mason Jones: Looking To Make Waves In The UFC
By Jack Rainbow
In what has been a fairly dreadful year for the majority of people, Mason Jones has had the time of his life.
One of the best moments from a year filled with highlights came when he claimed his second Cage Warriors title at welterweight on the 26th of September:
“It meant alot. When I won the lightweight belt and I want to explain this without sounding a n*b but I wasn’t ecstatic. It has been on my vision board for a long time, and I knew it was coming. I knew that I was going to tear through the division, win the title, and then get signed.
“The welterweight title, however, was not, my coaches couldn’t stop laughing when I asked for that fight however they backed me, and when we looked at Adam Proctor we saw nothing we couldn’t deal with. When we were planning for that fight we were really scared we had missed something. My coach got scared as he seemed so confident and we didn’t know why! However, I don’t know what he saw as I walked through him! Afterward, I went mental, and if winning in the UFC is a 10th of that feeling it will be a crazy night.”
“I knew leading up to it, that I was better than Adam in every angle. I’ve been a national Judoka champion, so for the British level I am more than adequate, and even though he was the bigger guy, I knew I would outstrike him, so rather than trying to put on weight, I did the cut as I would for lightweight. I only put on three kilos and im sure he put on far more, plus he is 6 ft 3 as well as his weight, but I was confident in my abilities and it was an easy night. I walked him down hit him with the strikes and put him away.”
Not only has 2020 seen Mason win the lightweight and welterweight titles, but he did so with two first-round finishes. This naturally leads to immense confidence in his abilities:
“I am always confident, I always say to my coaches I would rather be arrogant than not confident. I am really keen and really big on heavy criticism from my coaches. After the fight, we do analysis which is basically just them telling me what I have done wrong.
“I always say you learn nothing from being told what you do well and you learn everything from being told what you do wrong. I have really tightened my game up again, and I feel like I’m going from strength to strength, and now I’ve signed to the UFC and have an idea of who and where I will be fighting.”
On the back of winning the welterweight title, Mason got the call he always knew was coming from the UFC. The moment he found out was filmed for the world to see:
“That was two hours before I actually put my name on the dotted line! For a little backstory, I had no clue that was coming, alot of people assumed I would be signed after that fight but I knew the difficulties of getting signed.
“I came up to see Graham Boylan for a photoshoot, and he had already put the foundations in place and was able to follow through. It was a lovely surprise for me, my girlfriend and my family. People wondered why I was so surprised as they were expecting me to expect it. I just thought I was going for a photoshoot, and the way he led up to it, I had no clue!”
In regards to his UFC debut, Mason claims to have a pretty good idea who he will be fighting, and he believes it will be in the US in early 2021. Although he could not reveal the opponent, he did speak about starting his training camp:
“I can’t say, nothing is signed yet only verbal. It will be at the start of next year. Training has been good. After the Joe McColgan fight, I had two weeks off, and then my coach started training me off the sly. The only reason I took that risk is because there is no one in my immediate family with any risk, and they were all happy enough for me to crack on.
“My striking coach couldn’t come back for a long time as his brother is high risk, and neither did my jiu-jitsu coach as you can’t risk that, but we did as much as humanly possible and it didn’t affect me in the Adam Procter fight. After that, I went straight back into training, in case the UFC wanted me to fight on short notice. I’ve had a nice holiday since going to Greece which obviously we went through all the testing protocols through and a little rest now, and we start camp early next week!”
Emotionally, Mason spoke about the thrill of winning the welterweight belt over the relief of winning the lightweight belt. When asked which emotion came out with signing for the UFC, Mason explained how it differed from the thrill of winning the welterweight belt:
“It was a different feeling. Winning that belt was a big rush. I took a big risk and the higher the risk the better the reward. Getting signed was something I knew was going to happen, so like the lightweight title, it was more of a relief. I know that something could happen and come along that could landmine my future plans, so every time I take a step towards that climb is another gift.
“I’m ecstatic to be in training, I love what I do, so being in the best promotion in the world is a crazy feeling for me. It doesn’t feel real yet. As soon as I get in there and start fighting these lightweights, I look forward to making a climb and showing what I can do.”
Mason is not only joining the undisputed biggest MMA organization in the world, in lightweight he is arguably joining the toughest division. Rather than scare him, this excites the Welshman:
“It’s exciting. Again another arrogant thing, I don’t really get nervous. I’ve done elite sport for so long and messed up so many times and fallen at different hurdles, for me losing is not a worry. As long as I give my best that’s fine, my main fear is doing something stupid and getting caught. I enjoy the walk I enjoy the fight, so the nerves don’t really come. I will be interested to see if the UFC changes anything as one of my friends said he got quite nervous for the UFC and hadn’t before.”
“There’s no one in the top 20 I wouldn’t dream of fighting. You look at that division and you look at the top 20 and it is insane. You have McGregor, Hooker, Felder, RDA, it is such a strong division and it is one of those divisions that is just stacked because of the 15-pound difference between lightweight and welterweight.
“I am happy to settle at lightweight and stay there for a long time. I see lightweight as the strongest division in the UFC, and I think I can make a place for myself in that division and win that belt.”
When speaking to Cory McKenna and Jack Shore, I have been told about the exciting Welsh talent coming through at the moment. Mason echoed similar sentiments:
“We are just tough people. I’m from a town with about 5000 people and all people do is play rugby or fight. My mum’s great grandfather was a bare-knuckle boxer and fighting in the family, it’s just who we are. There are going to be many more to come, some of the people I train with are absolute killers, and it’s only a matter of time before these guys come through.”
When speaking about being signed by the UFC, Mason seemed far from overawed. His goals for where he wants to be in a year, prove that this was something he knew was going to happen:
“I see myself with three wins under my belt, and within three years I want to be in the top 15. I asked for top opposition for my debut and I got it, but to be fair I don’t think anyone’s easy in this division! I am going to beat whoever in front of me and keep going, and as long as I am healthy that will be my mindset. I am going to stay on the top form I can and keep tearing through and whoever stands in my way will fall.”
In winning two titles emphatically and getting signed for the UFC, it is hard to think of anyone who has had a better year in the sport than Mason Jones. Only time will tell if he will be as good as many believe he can be. But it is certain that Mason will not be in the UFC just to make up the numbers. 2020 has certainly been the year of the dragon, but it is now up to Mason to continue his red-hot form on the biggest stage of all.
Photo Credit: Cage Warriors