'Blessed' Jon Jones 'wiser, stronger, smarter' because of DWI and 'crazy' 2012

Paul Abell-US PRESSWIRE

In 2012, UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones defeated Rashad Evans, crashed his car, got arrested for driving drunk, bowed out of UFC 151 and submitted Vitor Belfort. That's a lot of ups and down for one year and "Bones" insists it's made him a better man.

So, what kind of year was it for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones?

"Bones'" 2012 fight campaign consisted of two successful title defenses. After securing a convincing five-round unanimous decision win over Rashad Evans at UFC 145 last April, he submitted middleweight "Phenom" Vitor Belfort at UFC 152 in September.

But...

Sandwiched between those two events was a conviction for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) and the cancellation of UFC 151, which was originally thought to be "murdered" by the promotion's 205-pound champ and his coach, Greg Jackson.

Jones tells MMA Weekly the experience made him "wiser, stronger and smarter."

"The DWI obviously, I learned from that, I've grown from that and I'm a better man because of it. Wiser, stronger, smarter because of all that stuff. Tough year, fun year, crazy year. Lost some sleep some nights, celebrated some nights ... too much, but it was life. I lived another year. I'm alive to see 2013 and I'm blessed and I'm grateful. Me and Dana are on good terms. I don't think we've ever been on better terms. I think he looks at me as a young man who has respect for himself, who stands up for certain things, who has a backbone and isn't afraid to speak his mind. I owe it to myself to be that way. At the same time, I'm here for the company, I'm here for the business and I'm here for the fans. I'm just trying to do everything right for myself and for the people around me."

Despite his "crazy" 12-month ride, "Bones" still walked away from the World MMA Awards with his second straight trophy for "Fighter of the Year."

Speaking of crazy, his next gig will be as Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 17 coach opposite former 185-pound number one contender Chael Sonnen, which debuts next Tuesday (Jan. 22, 2013) on the FX Channel. Following his reality show escapades, "Bones" will put his strap on the line against the "American Gangster" at UFC 159 in April.

After a roller-coaster ride through 2012, what will Jones pull off in 2013? How about that planned move to heavyweight?

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