Joneses are one tough family

Jon Jones is the current UFC light-heavyweight champion. (SUN files)

Jon Jones is the current UFC light-heavyweight champion. (SUN files)

NEIL SPRINGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:27 AM ET

TORONTO - It’s shaping up to be a crazy weekend for the Jones family.

UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon (Bones) Jones kicks things off when he defends his title against Vitor (The Phenom) Belfort in the main event of UFC 152 in Toronto on Saturday. Less than 24 hours later, his brothers, Arthur and Chandler, are set to go head-to-head.

Arthur, 26, is currently in his third year as a defensive end for the Baltimore Ravens. Chandler, 22, is in his rookie season as a defensive end for the New England Patriots. Sunday marks the first time the brothers will play each other in the NFL.

Though Jon, 25, said he can’t wait to watch his brothers’ teams square off, he won’t be picking sides.

“I’m really excited to wake up the next day after my fight, get on a plane, head to Baltimore and watch that game,” Jones said over the phone. “It’s just really cool. It’s going to be a cool week for the Jones family.

“I fought Rashad Evans (in April) and then my little brother got drafted (a few) days later. It was one of those really cool Jones family moments and I’m predicting that’s what it will be (this) weekend. I’ll defend my title and then watch my brothers compete against each other.

“Hopefully none of us get hurt this weekend.”

It goes without saying the Joneses are one of the more athletically-gifted families to grace professional sports.

Standing 6-foot-4 and sporting an 84.5-inch reach, Jon tore his way through the light-heavyweight division en route to capturing UFC gold in 2011. He holds victories over Evans, Mauricio Rua, Quinton Jackson and Lyoto Machida. His sole loss came via disqualification due to illegal elbows against Matt Hamill almost three years ago.

A fifth-round draft pick by the Ravens in 2010, Arthur is an imposing 6-foot-3 and tips the scale at 313 pounds. Chandler, who was picked in the first round by the Patriots, stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 260 pounds.

Arthur credits a strict, but loving, childhood for their respective accomplishments.

“Being very sheltered as children, we weren’t allowed to have sleepovers, weren’t allowed to do anything like go out to parties or anything like that,” he said. “My parents were really strict, Christian people. Sports were pretty much all we knew. We were ingrained into sports, and that helped us to stay focused and maintain our focus on what’s in front of us.

“It’s awesome to see them develop from children into men now. We have all gone our different paths, different ways. I am their biggest fan. It’s awesome just to see those guys do what they are doing now.”

Growing up in a competitive household, the three brothers used to wrestle each other on a regular basis. Chandler admitted Jon usually got the better of the matches.

“We wrestled a lot,” Chandler said. “We wrestled a lot, but it was for play. Actually, my dad had bought some wrestling mats and we used to wrestle down in the basement all the time.

“Jon, he was always better. Jon was a state champion in high school and he was a national champion in college. For him to be a professional fighter now is just a blessing. He’s doing what he loves to do.”

Though Arthur will be cheering on Jon when he steps into the octagon against the Brazilian MMA legend, he said he has to stay focused on Sunday’s game.

“It’s unique and definitely awesome,” Arthur said. “I wish Jon all the best. I know Jon is going to do great. Right now, I have to focus on my task at hand. That is more important for me at this moment, and it’s crucial for us to get the win and start the season off right.

“The three of us were talking a little junk via Twitter (recently), and Jon just said, ‘May the best team win.’ I think Chandler knows what’s going to go on and that this will be a very competitive, hard-fought game — no matter the outcome.”

Though Arthur is keeping his game face locked on, Chandler admits he’s on pins and needles when Jon steps in the cage.

“It’s wild,” Chandler began. “I get more nervous for his fights than my own football games. I’m going out there, I’m sitting out there in the front row in the family seats; it’s a lot of tension leading up to the fight. He’s usually the main event, so I’m sitting there and my stomach is boiling waiting for him to come up in the Octagon.

“He’s really good at doing what he does and kudos go to him.”

JONES FAMILY STATS

Chandler Jones

Defensive end, New England Patriots

Height: 6’5”

Weight: 260 pounds

Age: 22

Jon Jones

UFC light-heavyweight champion

Height: 6’4”

Weight: 205 pounds

Age: 25

Arthur Jones

Defensive end, Baltimore Ravens

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 313 pounds

Age: 26

MACHIDA NO LONGER NO. 1

As far as UFC president Dana White is concerned, Lyoto Machida is no longer the No. 1 contender for the light-heavyweight championship.

The former titleholder was pegged to challenge for the strap after a stunning knockout of Ryan Bader in August. At the time, current champ Jon Jones was set to face Dan Henderson at UFC 151 in Las Vegas. When Henderson pulled out of the fight due to a partially-torn MCL, the UFC cancelled the card and moved Jones to UFC 152 in Toronto Sept. 22.

Machida was expected to rematch Jones at the event, but turned down the opportunity, opening the door for Vitor Belfort.

According to White, Machida blew his opportunity and will now meet Henderson next. A date has yet to be determined.

“Machida should have taken the fight,” White said at a recent UFC luncheon. “We’ve seen it, history always repeats itself. Look how long it took Rashad to fight for the title again. So you wanted to fight Jon Jones, you climbed up to the title fight and you don’t take it? Now you’re fighting f---ing Dan Henderson. Now you might not even get to the f---ing title again. You lose to Dan Henderson you’re not anywhere near Jon Jones.”

 


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