SALT LAKE CITY – Jared Gordon still has to compete Saturday at UFC 278, but as tends to happen during media sessions three days in advance, he was asked about what he wants next before his fight even plays out.
In short, the native New Yorker said he wants to fight at Madison Square Garden, which will host UFC 281 in November. If he comes out of his fight against Leonardo Santos without serious injury, the timeline could work out.
Gordon rattled off a list of reasons why fighting at MSG is his “destiny,” but one of them stood out from the rest.
“I used to shoot dope in the bathroom down the block from Madison Square Garden,” Gordon said Wednesday.
Gordon’s past drug addiction has been well documented, but he’s managed to stay on the straight-and-narrow since joining the UFC in 2017. And at UFC 278, he’ll be looking to rebound from a submission loss to Grant Dawson in his last fight.
Given his troubled history, one might think Gordon is fulfilled by competing in MMA at the highest level, that perhaps the sport and being in the UFC have helped him stay sober. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
“MMA hasn’t helped me at all. Actually it’s made my life worse. I’m not even joking,” Gordon said. “MMA doesn’t give me any fulfillment whatsoever. I’m able to use my platform to help people through MMA, but whether I win or lose, three days later I’m miserable again.”
Leon Edwards agrees with Dana White: Kamaru Usman trilogy next with UFC 278 title win
T.J. Dillashaw: Sean O'Malley great for MMA, but most likely Petr Yan will 'run through him' at UFC 280
Yazmin Jauregui praises Iasmin Lucindo after tough UFC San Diego win: 'We're the future of the division'
Gordon went on to liken the experience of being a fighter to that of a drug addict and cautioned his counterparts about getting caught up in it.
“It’s like drugs. I’ve got to look for another fix. All right, ‘what’s next?’ You see it all the time,” Gordon said. “These guys become multiple-time world champions, and they’re fighting into their 40s looking for that next thing. They’re trying to fill a void. The only thing that fills my void is God, my family, my wife, my relationships, and helping other people. That’s the only thing that gives me fulfillment, is helping other people. So I need UFC and this platform to help others.
“If Logan Paul or Jake, whatever his name is, and Floyd (Mayweather) and Conor McGregor – no offense, I’m not trying to put them down. But if they were preaching about mental health and addiction, how many people would listen? I don’t have a platform like they do. The goal is to get there. They’re driving around in Lamborghini boats and flashing chains. All my shiny sh*t doesn’t do anything for me – my car, I’m wearing a Rolex right now. I’m wearing this just for this (interview). I like it, but it’s like a burden on my life. I’m still paying it off. I’ve owned it for a year. It’s a burden on my life. Fighting, I love martial arts. It’s my passion. I love competing. It’s not for me. None of this is for me. It’s for the people I’m trying to help.”
Gordon (18-5 MMA, 6-4 UFC), 33, meets Santos (18-5-1 MMA, 7-2-1 UFC) on the UFC 278 prelims prior to the pay-per-view main card. Before losing to Dawson, Gordon was on a three-fight winning streak.
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 278.