Jon Jones brother says champ ‘couldn’t sleep’ before Rampage Jackson fight, even dad was ‘being a fanboy’

Jon Jones didn’t have an easy time ahead of his 2011 title defense against Quinton Jackson.

That’s according to Jones’ younger brother, Chandler Jones. The four-time NFL Pro Bowler appeared this past week on Jackson’s podcast, JAXXON PODCAST, and explained to “Rampage” just how difficult the lead-up to his brother’s first UFC title defense really was.

“I’m Jon’s little brother, so I know who he fanboys over,” Jones said. “And before y’all’s fight, he couldn’t sleep. And I don’t give a f*** who — I’m looking you in your eyes, I’m not blinking — I don’t give a f*** who he fought, who with a bigger name, whatever, I’m talking about to this day, that he could not sleep. We all had been a fan of you before him. Before he became a UFC fighter, we were picking you in the UFC game. I just want to let you know that.”

Jon Jones made history in 2011 when he captured the UFC light heavyweight title with a third-round drubbing of Mauricio Rua at age 23 and became the youngest UFC champion ever. That result, combined with a prior stoppage of Ryan Bader and subsequent title defenses over Jackson and Lyoto Machida, combined to make up one of the greatest calendar years ever pulled off by a UFC fighter, but it was the Jackson matchup that had the Jones clan most worried. And according to Jackson, that worry was entirely justified.

“Man, I’m going to tell you about that fight though, since we’re on it. That fight, he beat the best me ever,” Jackson said. “Nobody ever faced me like that. I was in the best shape. I trained up in Denver, I trained for a couple of months, like two or three months. I was running seven miles when I normally just run three miles. My first time taking supplements every day, and I trained my ass off. And I was, like, overly confident. I’m like, ‘I’ve never lost a fight being in as good of shape as I’m in. I’m going to destroy this kid.’ And he kicked the s*** out of me. But I’m going to say this about your brother — I respect him, but he’s the dirtiest fighter in MMA, bro. The eye pokes, man. The kicking the knee back.”

“I don’t think he does it on purpose, but we all fight like that,” the younger Jones said. “That’s how we all have our hands up. Captain Insano shows no mercy.”

“Hey, with them long ass fingers, I couldn’t even do the Three Stooges [defense],” Jackson said, laughing.” Those fingers still go through that s***.”

Jon Jones has spoken openly in the past about how challenging the Jackson matchup was, especially on the mental side. The former two-time UFC light heavyweight champion — and current heavyweight champ — previously admitted that Jackson was his MMA idol growing up and that he had recurring nightmares about Jackson knocking him out in the first round of their bout. Those nightmares are what prompted “Bones” to open the fight in a crawling stance, as it was the only maneuver that warded off his visions of getting knocked out.

In speaking with Jones’ brother, Jackson admitted that the crawling maneuver threw him off from the outset and was a major factor in Jones winning “the mental game” of the fight. Jones ultimately defeated “Rampage” via fourth-round rear-naked choke at UFC 135.

But according to Chandler Jones, even the champ’s family was conflicted.

“My dad, man, he’s the biggest ‘Rampage’ fan,” Jones said. “So you’ve got to think, if you call you dad — my dad is the most spiritual person in the world. He’s a pastor of a church, he’s a spiritual gangster, he’s a spiritual savage. So whenever we get close to game time or fight time, we just call our dad every day. He gives us scriptures, I feel like he can talk to God through us for us. For some reason, every time he gives us a scripture, it’s talking straight to us, right to our hearts.

“And I remember one time, I think Jon reached out to my dad to kind of get that spiritual calling, and [my dad] was just calling [on behalf of] ‘Rampage.’ He was calling ‘Rampage.’ What do you do? What do you do when your spiritual leader is being a fanboy? Maybe that’s why you got the best Jon. Seriously.”

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