UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones was denied a spot on The Ultimate Fighter because he wasn’t old enough.

Jones, who became the youngest fighter in UFC history to win a title, has spent important years of his life – 21-to-26 – competing for the largest MMA promotion in the world.

While not everything has been clean and simple, “Bones” believes it has made him the man – and fighter – he is today.

“I feel like I have grown up in front of the audience,” he said, during the UFC World Tour. “People have seen me since day one mature. This is a great business to work for and, being the youngest in the division, I feel obligated to be the hardest working guy.”

Jones won the belt from Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and has defeated former champions like Rashad Evans, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Vitor Belfort and Lyoto Machida along the way.

There has also been issues outside the Octagon, including a charge of driving under the influence and the infamous cancelled UFC event when he declined a fight with Chael Sonnen on short notice.

“I am ready to keep the journey growing,” Jones stated.

Jones will fave Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165 next month in Toronto.