Brother’s UFC Title Pushed Jones

Second-year defensive tackle Arthur Jones is in much better shape due to MMA training.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Tuesday, August 9th, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Categories: Ryan Mink

Last year, Arthur Jones had bragging rights at the family dinner table.
 
The eldest of three boys bound by a great rivalry, Jones had made it to the NFL. He was a fifth-round pick by the Baltimore Ravens.
 
Then little brother Jon got into mixed martial arts. Seemingly overnight, Jon “Bones” Jones became one of the sport’s brightest stars. On March 19, he was crowned the UFC light-heavyweight title-holder.
 
“He one-upped me,” Jones said with a chuckle. “He’s a world champion, so I have to step my game up.”
 
Jones did just that during the lockout, and is in drastically better physical shape this year. The results have shown on the field. He’s faster, more explosive and can play longer.
 
It has earned him occasional time playing with the first-team defense, stepping in for defensive end Cory Redding. Jones, who is listed as a defensive tackle, has shown more versatility to play end in a 3-4 scheme or the nose tackle.
 
“He comes out here and he doesn’t say a word,” Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano said. “We press him pretty hard … and you can see him just starting to take off. So he’s been a pleasant surprise at this point.”
 
The Syracuse product didn’t see the field much at all his rookie season. Jones was activated for just two games in Weeks 12 and 15 and didn’t record any stats.
 
Soon after the Ravens’ season ended, Jones soon went to work training with his brother in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Jon got his title fight on Feb. 5 and was looking for a partner.
 
“I felt like I didn’t deserve a break,” Jones said. “I really didn’t do anything. I practiced, but didn’t play in many games, so my body was still fresh.”

Jones spent two days a week in football training and three days in Greg Jackson’s MMA gym, grappling, working with bags and conditioning.
 
Jones, a two-time New York State wrestling champion at Union-Endicott High School, helped his brother with grappling technique. Jon helped Arthur get more fit and stronger mentally.
 
The most memorable training exercise was running up sand dunes in the high altitudes outside Albuquerque, N.M. In the sand, Jones felt like he wasn’t going anywhere.
 
They pushed each other to their limits like competitive brothers can.
 
“One thing I tried to work on was beating myself,” he said.
 
“When I’m tired, physically and mentally and can’t breathe, I try to think. Last year, when I was breathing hard, sometimes I would kind of just lose it, kind of panic. Now I’m a lot more confident. I can calm down, relax and still play at a high intensity level.”
 
Jones’ listed weight hasn’t changed from a year ago at 313 pounds. But his more chiseled frame tells a story of a player who is motivated this year.
 
He said he doesn’t know if he would have reached this point without his brother’s success pushing him.
 
“Yes and no,” Jones said. “Yes because I think I’m just so motivated and I know my potential and that I can help out. But it’s definitely an extra gear.”

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