"I'd like to model my acting career on Dwayne Johnson, the way he came out of [WWE] and started off tough guy roles and then moved over to doing 'Tooth Fairy,'" the 24-year-old Jones told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
) during an appearance at the UFC's "World Tour" in Los Angeles. "That's when you really saw that he could act, and he's the one I admire and respect a lot, so I know I'd love to model my acting career after (him)."
A scarce few have been able to transition as successfully from the ring to the screen as the former pro wrestler, but several MMA athletes are giving it their best. Randy Couture, Gina Carano, and most recently, UFC women's bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey are working in Hollywood in action movies.
As the youngest-ever UFC champ in history, Jones (18-1 MMA, 12-1 UFC) is no stranger to breaking down barriers. If he beats Gustafsson, he will become the most successful light-heavyweight in the promotion's history. That goal, and securing he and his family's financial future, keeps him focused on fighting. His bout next month against Alexander Gustafsson (14-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) at UFC 165 is one more step on his current road.
The champ, however, is also looking life beyond fighting. At the start of this summer, he made the rounds of Hollywood studios and received some positive feedback about a potential acting career.
"Those meetings went great," Jones said. "I realize that they see that I have a little bit of character on me, and with the right training, I could possibly be in some movies in the future.
"As an entertainer, I think acting is one of the highest levels you can get, and right now, I'm doing pretty well in my field, which is the martial arts world. To branch out a little bit and get my feet wet there and maybe prepare myself for a career after this career, I think it's all part of the plan."
The ability to morph from a tough guy to dramatic actor might be the toughest skill Jones has to learn if he decides to jump into a new field, but he said he'll take it as seriously as fight camp.
"I'll definitely take a lot of classes," he said.