UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones was recently assigned his next bout; a contest between himself and number one contender, Glover Teixeira.
However within 24 hours of the match being announced, UFC President Dana White retracted the proclamation, stating that Jones was (now) a scratch for the bout and that the fight would be rescheduled for some time in March. As to the reasons why the fight was put off thirty days White offered no explanation, other than to say Jones was suffering from some undisclosed injury.
With two weeks gone off the calendar, Jones has now spoken up regarding the reasons for him postponing the February match. As Jones tells it, his reasons were twofold: injury and family.
In speaking with MMAjunkie Jones addressed the first issue, as such:
“The reason why I didn’t take the fight is because I don’t feel my body is ready for a training camp. I wanted to be there for the fans, I wanted to be there for the UFC, but in order for me to do that, I need to listen to my body and come prepared to compete, and that’s being healthy.
My eye is definitely not ready to be punched. I’m afraid that it could re-open, which would make scarring terrible, and prolong the whole thing even more. My foot is definitely not ready to go yet. I wake up to step off the bed, and its cracking and crackling and stuff. I’m just not ready for the training camp.”
In considering what the champ has been through in his last two fights, it’s hard not to see how Jones might still be banged up and in not ready for his Octagon duties.
As fans know, he soundly beat Chael Sonnen back in April, at UFC 159; however, he severely broke his left toe in doing so. Post his rehab and a short five months later, he was back in the ring facing the biggest threat of his career in the way of Alexander Gustafsson, and in defending his title for the sixth straight time, Jones took a lot of damage. On that point, it also appears, at least from the champ’s statements, that he may have reinjured his left foot during his bout with Gustafsson. If so, it only compounds and probably extends his recovery time.
Taking it all into consideration, it seems reasonable to consider that putting Jones back in the ring five months past the Gustafsson fight, might be asking a little much of “Bones”.
Of course, an interesting question might be this, what does an extra 30 days do him? Not to question the champ on the extra time, but in light of his comments, one would think it reasonable that he would ask for 60 or 90 days, and not 30.
Beyond the injuries, Jones cited his family and most particularly his children, and the season, for postponing his February fight.
As the champ put it:
“I’ve spent the last three Christmases in Albuquerque, and I really want to just be with my family back in New York State and let my kids see Christmas the way it’s supposed to be. That’s a big reason why I kind of delayed that next fight until March.”
In terms of Jones wanting to be able to have a normal Christmas with his family and in his native New York, it’s hard to blame him. Since becoming champion back in March of 2011, Jones has defended his title every five months and certainly can’t be called a lazy champ. As such, I don’t think fans will begrudge him the extra time to heal up or the time with his family over Christmas.
That said, it’s nice that Jones has finally spoken up and let the fans know what the state of his health is and that it’s nothing too serious. Surely, fans will wish the champ all the best over the holidays and that he’s healed up and ready to go for March.