There are certain rights and privileges that come with being the big brother in a family, one of which is the ability to physically dominate your younger brethren. This right is one that Baltimore Ravens’ defensive end Arthur Jones still enjoys to this day
“I would have to say me,” Arthur says when asked who would win in a fight between him and his two younger brothers, “unless they both jump me at the same time.”
The “they” in question are his youngest brother, Chandler, who is a standout defensive end at the University of Syracuse, and middle brother, Jon, who is the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. Surely Arthur Jones is delusional—there is no way he could physically dominate one of the baddest men on the planet, is there?
“I’m a lot bigger than Jon, and I have pretty good speed as well,” says Art. “We’ve been wrestling each other for years, so we know each other very well, especially the takedowns we’re both going to use. It’s like a game of chess, and I’ve got the advantage because of my size and speed.”
When you dig a little deeper into the history of 25-year-old Arthur Jones Jr., his statements might not just be hyperbole. Not only was he an outstanding high school football player at Union Endicott High School in Endicott, New York, he was also a superb heavyweight wrestler, winning the New York State Championship in 2003 and 2005, while finishing as the runner-up in 2004. Then, when you hear it straight from the horse’s mouth—Jon has publically said that Art is the better wrestler—you start to ascertain that Art Jones might not really be boasting when he says he’s the toughest dude in his family. Jon should know, as the NFL lockout this past offseason allowed his big brother the time to train with him at Greg Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts in Albuquerque, New Mexico, before his showdown with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 128.
“We both benefited from the training,” says Art. “We worked on a little bit of everything— wrestling, Muay Thai, BJJ. Being a wrestler, you’re never comfortable on your back, but I picked it up, and I learned Jon’s work ethic is second to none.”
Having big brother in his training camp definitely turned out to be a mutually beneficial experience, as little brother went on to smash Shogun and snatch the UFC Light Heavyweight Title in the process, and Art has had a far better sophomore NFL season than his debut a year ago. After only seeing action in two games his rookie season of 2010, Jones has already played in three games (through Week 3) in 2011 and recorded four tackles. And, he credits his rise in playing time to his offseason spent training with Jon in Albuquerque.
“It helped me out a lot mentally,” says Art. “I pushed myself harder—not that I ever quit or anything—but I just learned how to beat myself mentally. When times are rough and you can’t breathe, just keep pushing forward. I think the high altitude definitely helped out a lot. It played a big role in me coming to camp in shape, and it’s just a great way to change up the workouts.”
And this brings us to another seemingly unbelievable statement about Art Jones—Jon says that with a few more years of training, Art would be able to “smash” current UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez.
“I just laugh at the whole thing,” Art says of the controversy his brother’s statement has caused. “Who knows with a couple years of training. I’m pretty sure my brother didn’t mean to start any tension. That’s just what he believes. My brother has never seen me lose—in a wrestling match or any time we had a physical altercation.”
Cain doesn’t need to look in his rear-view mirror just yet. While a scheduled MMA fight this past August was thwarted due to NFL labor peace, Art hopes to be in the NFL for at least another decade. However, when you take into consideration his size, speed, wrestling background, and elite athletic ability, the day when Art Jones is a force in the UFC’s heavyweight division doesn’t seem so unfathomable. And Jon Jones’ supreme confidence in his big brother’s pugilistic
skills shouldn’t come as a surprise either—brothers are expected to have each other’s backs.
“I get a lot more butterflies watching Jon fight than I do when playing football,” Art says. “Any time you see a family member in the cage, being the older brother, you always want to protect your younger brother.”
It’s okay, Art—little brother Jon has proven time and again that he is fully capable of taking care of himself.