Michael Muller re-creates iconic Muhammad Ali underwater shot with brawler Jon “Bones” Jones for UFC mag

Jon "Bones" Jones on the cover of UFC magazine. Photo by Michael Muller.

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With his defeat on Saturday of Rashad Evans in a highly anticipated Ultimate Fighting Championship faceoff, Jon “Bones” Jones cemented his status as light heavyweight champ and fearsome opponent. And with his photo shoot with Michael Muller for the cover story of the latest UFC magazine, Jon achieved a different kind of status: that of a super-charming guy who happens to be as stylish and photogenic as he is brutal in the ring. Seriously.

Just check out the behind-the-scenes video of the shoot, which shows Michael and Jon collaborating to re-create Flip Schulke‘s iconic 1961 shot of Muhammad Ali underwater, taken in profile, his fists raised. In the video, the 24-year-old mixed martial artist—who in March 2011 became the youngest light heavyweight champ in UFC history—comes across as a downright gentle guy. It’s Michael you have to watch out for: After they finished the underwater shot, the kinetic photographer started dreaming up other exciting scenarios, including one in which he’d light Jon’s gloves on fire—while he was wearing them, naturally. “Fire. You can never go wrong with fire,” Michael says in the clip.

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Michael Muller photographing Jon "Bones" Jones and his fists of fire in a still from the behind-the-scenes video. Click to watch.

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Of course, Michael knows exactly what he’s doing, there was no danger, and the resulting shot conveys just how formidable the young fighter is. “Jon is our 21st-century Muhammad Ali, in my opinion,” says Michael.

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Photo by Michael Muller for UFC magazine.

Photo by Michael Muller for UFC magazine.

Photo by Michael Muller for UFC magazine.

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