Jonathan Dwight "Jon" Jones (born July 19, 1987), is an American mixed martial artist currently signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship where he is the current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. When he won the title in March 2011, he became the youngest champion in UFC history. As of December 2012, he was ranked as the #1 light heavyweight fighter in the world by various media outlets.
Mixed martial arts career
Before beginning his MMA career, Jones was a stand-out high school wrestler and state champion at Union-Endicott High School in upstate New York. He won a national JUCO championship at Iowa Central Community College. After transferring to Morrisville State College he decided to drop out of college where he was studying Criminal Justice, to begin his MMA career.
Jones made his professional MMA debut in April 2008. He amassed an undefeated record of 6-0 over a period of three months, finishing all of his opponents. This brought him to the attention of the UFC, who asked him to take a fight as a late replacement on a two week notice in July 2008.
In his last bout before signing with the UFC, Jones defeated Moyses Gabin at BCX 5 for the USKBA Light Heavyweight Championship. He won the fight via TKO in the second round.
Ultimate Fighting Championship
Jones's UFC debut came against Andre Gusmão at UFC 87 on August 9, 2008. Jones took the fight on two weeks notice as a late replacement for Tomasz Drwal. He put on an impressive performance using takedowns and displaying unorthodox striking, such as spinning elbows and a spinning back kick. Despite being a heavy underdog, Jones took a unanimous decision victory.
In his second fight, Jones fought veteran Stephan Bonnar at UFC 94 on January 31, 2009. Jones showed superior wrestling abilities and executed strong takedowns and powerful throws including a suplex. Again showing unorthodox striking as he had in his debut, Jones secured one of Bonnar's legs and landed a back-elbow that nearly knocked out his opponent during the first round. Although he appeared to tire in the third round, Jones held on to win another unanimous decision victory.
Jones' third fight was against Jake O'Brien at UFC 100 on July 11, 2009. Jones controlled the majority of the fight by stuffing takedown attempts from his opponent. Jones stayed on the outside, exercising his reach advantage and finding his range toward the end of the first round with his right jab and high and low kicks. Halfway through the second round, Jones ducked and spun to deliver another one of his signature back-elbows that struck the top of O'Brien's head. Jones eventually secured a modified guillotine choke which rendered his opponent briefly unconscious just after he tapped.
In September 2009, Jones was rewarded for his victories by signing a new four-fight contract with the UFC.
On December 5, 2009 Jones faced off against fellow light heavyweight prospect Matt Hamill at The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights Finale. Despite dominating the fight, Jones was disqualified for the use of multiple 12-6 elbows. The Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts prohibit downward elbow strikes, and Jones was initially only penalized a point from the round. However, because Hamill could not continue due to a dislocated shoulder, Jones was disqualified for these strikes. Consequently, the tape was reviewed and showed that Jones' elbows further damaged Hamill's already bloody and lacerated nose. This marked the first time that Nevada has used its recently-enacted instant replay rule, in which the referee's decision was supported by the commission which utilized a slow motion replay to review the elbows.
Jones fought Brandon Vera on March 21, 2010 at UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones. He won the fight by TKO (elbow) caused by an elbow to Vera's face followed up with punches in the first round. The elbow delivered to stop the fight also broke Vera's face in three places. Jones also won the "Knockout of the Night" award.
Jones defeated former IFL Light Heavyweight Champion Vladimir Matyushenko by TKO due to elbows in 1:52 of the first round on August 1, 2010 at UFC Live: Jones vs. Matyushenko. UFC President Dana White promised Jones a "huge step-up in the competition", if he managed to defeat Matyushenko.
Following the fight with Matyushenko, UFC President Dana White said, "Vladimir Matyushenko is a guy who I have a lot of respect for and I didn't think it was going to happen that easy. Jones is the real deal and he just catapulted himself tonight into the top eight in the world. Tonight solidified it. To go in and do what he did to Vladimir Matyushenko, and make it look as easy as he did tonight, it cements it for me. This kid is one of the top eight in the world in that weight division. He's got to keep his head together, stay focused and keep doing all the right things in training. He's smart, good looking and bad-ass. He's going to make a lot of money -- this kid is going to do very well. Right now in the 205-pound division, all these guys are fighting each other. When the smoke clears and the dust settles, Jon Jones will fight one of the top eight guys in the world for his next fight."
After defeating Matyushenko, Jones stated that he wanted a "top-three opponent" for his next fight.
Jones mentioned in an interview with Inside MMA that he would be facing the winner of Antônio Rogério Nogueira vs. Ryan Bader. Reports that Jones had previously been offered a fight with Nogueira, but turned down the opportunity turned out to be false. In the Inside MMA interview Jones also stated he had been informed by Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta that if he finished his next two fights, he would likely receive a title shot.
Dana White soon confirmed that Jones would face undefeated Ultimate Fighter winner Ryan Bader, on February 5, 2011 at UFC 126. Jones went on to hand Bader his first professional loss by defeating him via tapout due to a guillotine choke in the second round after dominating Bader in the first round. Jones was awarded the "Submission of the Night" bonus.
Following Jones' victory over Bader, it was revealed that title contender and Jones' training partner Rashad Evans had sustained a knee injury in training, and would not be able to compete in his scheduled match with current UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua. Jones was told by Joe Rogan right after his bout had ended that he would replace Evans in the fight for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.
Light Heavyweight Championship
At UFC 128, Jones defeated Rua by TKO at 2:37 of round 3 to become the youngest UFC champion ever. After an early flying knee that badly hurt the champion, Shogun was dominated throughout the three rounds. A body shot and knee to the head dropped the champion to his knees, causing the referee to swiftly step in and halt the bout just as Shogun tapped to strikes.
His first title defense was expected to be on August 6, 2011 at UFC 133 against Rashad Evans, his former friend and teammate, but Jones was sidelined with a hand injury. It was initially announced that the hand injury would require surgery, but Jones opted for rest and rehabilitation without surgery after further consultations with doctors. Jones's injury was originally thought to keep him out of action until late 2011, but he instead made his first title defense against Quinton Jackson on September 24, 2011 at UFC 135. Jones defeated Jackson via submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:14 in the 4th round. In the process, he became the first UFC fighter to submit Jackson. Jones has described this as his favourite fight.
Jones vs Evans was in the works for a second time and a bout was targeted for December 10, 2011 at UFC 140. However, a lingering thumb injury cost another title opportunity for Evans, and Jones instead faced Lyoto Machida at the same event. Jones successfully defended the light heavyweight title at UFC 140, stopping Machida at 4:26 of the second round via technical submission (standing guillotine), which caused Machida to collapse unconscious along the cage. This was the first submission loss in Machida's career.
Jones defeated his arch rival and former teammate Rashad Evans via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 50-45) on April 21, 2012 at UFC 145.
During the UFC 145 post fight press conference Dana White confirmed that Jones's next opponent would be Dan Henderson. The Jones-Henderson fight was expected to take place at UFC 151, but an injured Henderson pulled out of the bout, Jones then refused a late replacement fight with Chael Sonnen after his coach Greg Jackson told him with three training days left it would be difficult to prepare. UFC 151 was then subsequently cancelled. It was later reported that Henderson was injured three weeks prior to the announcement but kept the injury under wraps as he was still hoping to compete. However he was ultimately forced to withdraw following a final sparring session to evaluate his condition.
A rematch with Lyoto Machida was then announced for September 22, 2012 at UFC 152, Lyoto Machida who was not contacted prior to the announcement, rejected the fight due to the lack of time to train before the bout. Jones instead defended the championship against Vitor Belfort on September 22, 2012 at UFC 152. Jones opened as a massive favorite (13-to-1) coming into the bout.
"it was not the finish that's the story of this evening. It's the refusal to be finished."
Despite almost being submitted via armbar in round one, Jones successfully defended the belt against the Brazilian Belfort, and equaled Chuck Liddell's number of title defenses. Jones also won a $65,000 Submission of the Night bonus for his fourth-round americana on Belfort.
His next fight is expected to be against Chael Sonnen after the current series of TUF is finished.
Jones and his fiancée have two daughters: Leah, who was born on July 11, 2008; and Carmen Nicole Jones, born in December 2009, who was named after his late sister, Carmen. Jones is a Christian.
Jon's older brother, Arthur is an American football defensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens. Jones's younger brother, Chandler, is currently a defensive lineman for the New England Patriots. His older sister, Carmen, died of brain cancer before her eighteenth birthday.
On March 19, 2011, Jones was en route to Great Falls Historic Park in Paterson, New Jersey, where he planned to meditate several hours ahead of his fight against Maurício "Shogun" Rua at UFC 128. He was accompanied by his coaches Mike Winkeljohn and Greg Jackson. As their driver prepared to drop them off, Jones observed an elderly couple screaming for help. The woman informed Winkeljohn that a man had smashed her car window and had run off with her GPS. Jones, along with his two coaches, chased after the robber, caught and tripped him, and held him down until the police arrived.
In the early morning of May 19, 2012, Jones drove his Bentley Continental GT into a pole in Binghamton, New York. Jones was arrested for driving under the influence and was bailed out several hours later by his mother. He pled guilty to DWI charges.
On August 8, Jones became the first mixed martial artist to be sponsored by Nike on an international scale. Anderson Silva and Yoshihiro Akiyama have signed regional deals with Nike in the past, but Jones is the first to represent Nike globally.
Jones initially trained with Team BombSquad out of Cortland, New York, then briefly with the Tristar Gym in Montreal, Canada and most recently at Jackson's MMA in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Championships and accomplishments
Mixed martial arts
Mixed martial arts record
|Professional record breakdown|
|18 matches||17 wins||1 loss|
|Win||17–1|| Vitor Belfort||Submission (americana)||UFC 152||September 22, 2012||4||0:54||Toronto, Ontario, Canada||Defended UFC Light Heavyweight Championship; Submission of the Night.|
|Win||16–1|| Rashad Evans||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 145||April 21, 2012||5||5:00||Atlanta, Georgia, United States||Defended the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.|
|Win||15–1|| Lyoto Machida||Technical Submission (standing guillotine choke)||UFC 140||December 10, 2011||2||4:26||Toronto, Ontario, Canada||Defended the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship; Fight of the Night.|
|Win||14–1|| Quinton Jackson||Submission (rear naked choke)||UFC 135||September 24, 2011||4||1:14||Denver, Colorado, United States||Defended the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship; Fight of the Night.|
|Win||13–1|| Maurício Rua||TKO (punches and knees)||UFC 128||March 19, 2011||3||2:37||Newark, New Jersey, United States||Won UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.|
|Win||12–1|| Ryan Bader||Submission (guillotine choke)||UFC 126||February 5, 2011||2||4:20||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Submission of the Night.|
|Win||11–1|| Vladimir Matyushenko||TKO (elbows)||UFC Live: Jones vs. Matyushenko||August 1, 2010||1||1:52||San Diego, California, United States|
|Win||10–1|| Brandon Vera||TKO (elbows and punches)||UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones||March 21, 2010||1||3:19||Broomfield, Colorado, United States||Knockout of the Night.|
|Loss||9–1|| Matt Hamill||DQ (illegal elbows)||The Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale||December 5, 2009||1||4:14||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Jones was disqualified for illegal "12-to-6" elbow strikes.|
|Win||9–0|| Jake O'Brien||Submission (guillotine choke)||UFC 100||July 11, 2009||2||2:43||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||8–0|| Stephan Bonnar||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 94||January 31, 2009||3||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||7–0|| André Gusmão||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 87||August 9, 2008||3||5:00||Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States||UFC Debut.|
|Win||6–0|| Moyses Gabin||TKO (punches)||Battle Cage Xtreme 5||July 12, 2008||2||1:58||Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States||Won the USKBA Light Heavyweight Championship.|
|Win||5–0|| Parker Porter||KO (punch)||World Championship Fighting 3||June 20, 2008||1||0:36||Wilmington, Massachusetts, United States|
|Win||4–0|| Ryan Verrett||TKO (punches)||USFL: War in the Woods 3||May 9, 2008||1||0:14||Ledyard, Connecticut, United States|
|Win||3–0|| Anthony Pina||Submission (guillotine choke)||Ice Fighter||April 25, 2008||1||1:15||Worcester, Massachusetts, United States|
|Win||2–0|| Carlos Eduardo||KO (punches)||Battle Cage Xtreme 4||April 19, 2008||3||0:24||Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States|
|Win||1–0|| Brad Bernard||TKO (punches)||FFP: Untamed 20||April 12, 2008||1||1:32||Boxborough, Massachusetts, United States|
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