Whether you love him or hate him, Jon Jones is one-of-a-kind in the world of mixed martial arts.
But he was almost two of a kind, back in 2011.
The NFL lockout was in full effect, and Jones’ older brother Arthur decided that he would give another sport a try while he was in athletic purgatory. That sport, obviously, was the sport of MMA.
Arthur spoke to the Indianapolis Star about his close-call with MMA, his background in one-on-one combat, and what it’s like to watch his younger brother find so much success in the UFC (specific quotes via MMAJunkie).
“I love MMA,” Arthur said. “It’s fun to watch, and it’s something I entertained early in my football career if football didn’t work out, of me fighting in the UFC. But things are going well for me right now, so I’m going to stick with my career.
“I was supposed to take a fight when we had the lockout a few years ago. I was getting ready to schedule it, and I was training for it. Thank God for the other guy the lockout ended.”
Even though his career in mixed martial arts didn’t quite pan out, Arthur was able to find some success where a lot of MMA standouts started their UFC journey – on the wrestling mats. Arthur became the two-time New York state wrestling heavyweight champion, and even now, when the off-season rolls around, you can find him training alongside his brother at Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA.
“I was a really good wrestler, so that was my base, but I do a lot of boxing in a my off-season training,” Arthur said. “I train at Greg Jackson’s pretty much every off-season.
“I love it. It keeps my mind fresh. It just keeps me hungry when it’s football season because I’m training parts and muscles and different things, and it keeps me active in different ways so I don’t get bored doing the same thing with football.”
Arthur wasn’t the only wrestling star in the house, however – “Bones” was a talented high-school wrestler, competing at 195 pounds while Arthur was hanging out at the 275-pound mark.
“I must confess here: I had the much easier route wrestling at 275,” Arthur said. “Jon had all the studs in his weight class, wrestling 195. Those are men sizes – the average man as a senior or junior in high school. His competition was a lot stiffer than mine. I had better competition once I got to the state level, but Jon always had tough competition. But he was a guy that never quit.”
Both men are now enjoying the fruits of their labor. Arthur has a Super Bowl title to his name, and Jon might very well go down as the greatest light heavyweight fighter in the history of the sport. And while it would be easy to sit back and congratulate one-another, Arthur admits that it’s all a bit surreal.
“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” Arthur said of his family’s success. “I think it’s one of those things that when we’re done with the sport that God has blessed us with, we can sit back and say, ‘Man, I was great in this sport,’ or ‘I accomplished this.’ I think that’s really when it’s going to hit us. But right now, we’re just trying to keep our family name great.”