Jones file photo | Sherdog.com
Following his submission victory over Ryan Bader at
126, light heavyweight star Jon Jones
received quite a surprise during his postfight interview with Joe
In light of a knee injury sustained to No. 1 contender Rashad
Evans, Jones was offered a chance to step back into the cage in
just six weeks to challenge Mauricio
“Shogun” Rua for the 205-pound title on March 19 in the main
event of UFC
128. Jones immediately accepted the offer, and at the postfight
news conference, the blue-chip prospect asserted that he had no
problem with taking the fight on such short notice.
“I usually spend my camp getting in shape, but I’m already in
shape. [Coach Jackson] wants me to calm down. He said he can't have
me peak for six more weeks,” said Jones. “But I’m not taking time
off. Maybe physically I'll take some time off, but I have a lot of
studying to do. Six weeks is more than enough time, especially
since I already have a six pack.”
Jones will step in for a teammate in Evans, who has reportedly done
damage to a ligament in his knee.
“It's a sprained ligament,” said UFC president Dana White. “We had
him checked out yesterday, and the doctor confirmed today that he
couldn't compete. He has to take six to eight weeks off, and he has
to wear a brace. Hopefully he doesn't need surgery.”
Though Jones knew about Evans’ injury, according to the fighter he
had no idea that he would receive the opportunity to fight the
“I did hear about Rashad being injured, but I had no clue I would
get a title shot,” said Jones.
In fact, neither did UFC president Dana White up until a few hours
before the event.
“Whenever things like this happen, we have to throw something
together. Is Jones even going to win his fight [with Bader]?”
explained White. “Actually, right before Jones came out, we told
his team, and we told John right after his fight.”
Jones dominated Bader from start to finish, using superior
grappling to control the former Arizona State wrestler. “Bones”
brought the fight to a close with a nasty guillotine choke in the
On the horizon, he will face unquestionably the stiffest test of
his young career in Rua. A former
Pride Fighting Championships phenom, “Shogun” is an explosive
striker with knockout power in all four limbs. According to Jones,
however, he sees Rua's early successes in Pride as motivation for
his own career.
“What I liked about Shogun is he won the Pride [middleweight grand
prix] at age 23. That inspires me to be a champion at 23.”
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