For those watching UFC 152 on Saturday night the sight of former UFC light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort locking in an armbar that was seconds away from snapping Jon Jones‘ arm was cringe worthy. There was no doubt that his arm was damaged after that point but the champion was able to survive and came back from the brink of defeat in the first round, submitting his veteran opponent via americana arm lock in the fourth round.
Today, MMAJunkie reported that Jones had been told by doctors that he may have nerve damage to his right bicep. While Jones’ impressive victory had many discussing the reigning champion’s next opponent, Bones’ arm will likely sideline him at least until the end of the first quarter of 2013.
With all the injuries plaguing the sport at the moment the damage sustained by one of the UFC’s most marketable fighters compounds UFC President Dana White’s frustration.
“Another fighter injured… That’s crazy.”
While the UFC 151 fiasco led to a public berating of Jones and his trainers and strained the relationship between the owner and his light heavyweight champion, White’s comments following the fight indicate that they may have finally buried the hatchet. White gloated about his star mixed martial artist at the post-fight press conference:
“There’s no doubt that this was his best performance, He looked phenomenal tonight… There was a lot of questions about Jon Jones that people kept asking over and over again, no matter who he fought. No matter how good he fought. Could he take a punch? He got hit with some big punches tonight from a real puncher, and he took them. He was injured. He had the heart to keep going, and he had a great fight tonight. There can be no more naysaying about Jon Jones. You love him or you hate him … but you can’t deny that the kid is extremely talented and one of the best in the world.”
Jones elaborated on his opponent’s submission attempt that nearly lost him the title:
“In there, I felt as if there was a point where I don’t think physically he could have extended it even more,” Jones said. “I mean, it was popping, and I felt after 25 years that I’ve never felt that feeling before. I just came to terms with what was going to happen, just thinking, ‘Man, I can’t believe I’m getting ready to lose this way… I remember the first time I punched with it. I just felt like it had no power on it. I was like, ‘That felt funny.’”
The time it will take for Jon ‘Bones’ Jones’ arm to heal may serve to clear up the 205-pound title picture and make way for a clear cut contender to take on the champ upon his return. Dan Henderson, Lyoto Machida, Mauricio ’Shogun’ Rua, Alexander Gustafson, and Glover Texeira are all names that have been thrown around.
The next six months should be used to provide some clarity to the divisional title hunt while Jon Jones gets some answers regarding his expected recovery time.