Jon Jones Undergoes Second Surgery, Won’t Impact Recovery Time

January 11, 2024
1 month

Jon Jones’ pectoral injury is holding back several things in the UFC heavyweight division. Jones was supposed to have a legacy fight to defend his belt against former champion Stipe Miocic. A torn pectoral muscle that required surgery forced him out of the fight. 

Jones’ injury and desire to fight Miocic upon his return have upset fight fans that would like to see the division have an active champion. Tom Aspinall won the interim title and has been getting after Jones on social media to ensure he gets to defend it against one of the all-time greats of MMA. 

Recently, Jones announced that in addition to surgery on his pectoral muscle, he would also have surgery to repair his elbow. He looked at it as an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. But Jones’ absence has many questioning what direction the UFC will go in as it waits for him to return. 

The best MMA news sites have shown that UFC President Dana White has been steadfast in keeping the title on Jones while he is out due to injury. As long as Jones stays on his current timetable, it is likely Jones’ next fight will be a title defense against Stipe Miocic.

Jones is No Stranger to Inactivity

The good news for Jones is his elbow surgery won’t delay his eight-month recovery period. But even if Jones has to sit out a little longer, he has proven throughout his career that he is capable of making a comeback, according to MMA news sites. Before Jones beat Ciryl Gane for the heavyweight championship at UFC 285 last March, he hadn’t fought in three years.

Jones’ inactivity throughout his career hasn’t always been his choice. He has faced several suspensions from the UFC due to failing drug tests and other issues outside of the octagon. This time around, however, Jones’ issues were due to occurrences beyond his control.

Jones injured himself training for the Miocic fight while grappling. Since Jones records most of his training sessions, he had the video of when he tore the muscle off the bone and posted it to social media.

Jones Has Something to Prove as Two-Division Champion

There have only been a handful of two-division champions in UFC history. Jones would like to equal the accomplishments of one of his most fierce rivals. Like Jones, Daniel Cormier was both the heavyweight and light heavyweight champion.

Cormier made at least one title defense with each belt. Jones has yet to defend his heavyweight crown. By beating Miocic, Jones could add a title defense in two weight classes to his resume. Cormier fought Miocic during a memorable trilogy of fights during his career.

Cormier beat Miocic to win the title but lost the next two fights to finish with a 1-2 mark against Miocic.

Why is the Stipe Fight so Important to Jones?

Jones bumping up to heavyweight after Francis Ngannou left the UFC due to a pay dispute instantly gave the division credibility. Seeing Jones submit a heavyweight quickly in the first round was shocking, even with the long list of Jones’ career accomplishments. Jones has the UFC record for the most light heavyweight title defenses, having done so 11 times during two reigns as champion.

Jones’ only loss in his career came due to controversial circumstances when he was disqualified for using illegal 12-6 elbows. Beating Miocic would be another feather in the cap for Jones’ resume.

Miocic has the UFC record for most consecutive title defenses at heavyweight. He defended the belt three times during his first reign and once during his second time with the belt. Beating Miocic at this point in their careers may not auger well for Jones. 

Miocic hasn’t fought in the UFC since he was knocked out by Ngannou at UFC 260 in March 2021. He is 20-4 in his career and has collected 15 knockouts.

Aspinall Continues to Chirp at Jones

Jones isn’t impressed with Aspinall’s resume. That hasn’t stopped Aspinall from continuing to call out Jones in public. Aspinall recognizes that picking up a win over Jones would be important for his long-term legacy. 

Aspinall, 30, has also shown his toughness and ability to handle adversity. During a fight with Curtis Blaydes in July 2022, Aspinall lost after blowing out his knee 15 seconds in. After a year off, Aspinall returned with a dominant first-round stoppage of Marcin Tybura. 

During the interim title fight, Aspinall was bold enough to stand in the pocket with dangerous knockout artist Sergei Pavlovich. Aspinall has many of the traits the UFC would like to see in a champion. He is young and has a penchant for finishing fights. 

All 14 of Aspinall’s career fights have come by finish. Aspinall has been so bold as to suggest that Jones should be stripped of the title.

Will Aspinall-Jones Ever Happen

There is one thing to consider with Jones. Win or lose against Miocic, Jones has little to prove. He is one of the greatest champions in the promotion’s history and one of the UFC’s most enigmatic talents. It wouldn’t be surprising if Jones beats Miocic that he rides off into the sunset.

But Jones needs to make a full recovery from his injury first. While Jones may seem like Superman, he is 36 years old. Injuries will take longer to recover from him than they would have a decade earlier. Jones is still looking at an eight-month recovery window. When he will be truly able to leap back into competition is yet to be determined. 

There is a possibility the UFC may try to keep him around a little longer by offering more money, but there is little to suggest he would hang around to fight Aspinall. While Aspinall has made a fast rise up the ranks over the past two years, Jones may not be enticed enough by the challenge to hang around.

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