UFC Champion Jon Jones Opts Out of Surgery, Gunning for Late Summer/Early Fall Return


UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will not have to have surgery to repair a tear in his thumb, and will be ready to return to action sometime between September and November.

This is according to Jones’ manager, Malki Kawa, who spoke to MMAWeekly.com on Friday after reports surfaced that his client was not going to be forced to go under the knife to repair damage on his thumb.

Several weeks ago, Jones was pushed to the sidelines after doctors advised the UFC’s top light heavyweight that his thumb injury required surgery and rehab that would put him out of action until at least the latter part of 2011.

After visiting with doctors referred by the UFC and the surgeon who was going to do the work on Jones’ hand, they decided that surgery wasn’t required and Jones made the decision to wait.

“The message we got from everybody was that Jon needed to have surgery. That’s what the report showed, that’s what the MRI showed, that’s what every test and everything he had up until Wednesday was saying,” Kawa said on Friday.

“The UFC flew us out to their doctors here in Nevada on Wednesday. We came out here, we met with the doctor. The doctor looked at Jon and basically advised Jon that in his opinion that he thought that surgery was maybe a bit drastic. He didn’t have to have it if he didn’t want to if he could stand the pain and he didn’t have to sit out and go through all that rehab. Jon chose not to have the surgery. He wants to be back in the cage and fight. He thought it was something medically he absolutely (had to do) and this doctor gave him the option not to do it if he didn’t want to.”

The doctors in Las Vegas, in the process of doing tests on Jones’ hand, saw that overall he still had full range of motion with little pain in most areas. The decision was ultimately left up to Jones, and he opted out of surgery.

For now, he will be fitted with a cast and will have that on until he can be medically cleared midway through June.

“He has a tear, his thumb is torn. He was just like we’ll stabilize it, and see if we can help make the pain go away some more and after 30 days from now, you feel good, they’ll clear him medically to fight,” Kawa stated.

“He’ll still have the tear, it’s not going to heal on it’s own, but he felt that the actual surgery was too invasive for the tear that he had.”

As far as fighting in August, Kawa believes that his client would not have nearly enough time to train for a fight that soon because even after being cleared in June, he still needs time to get back into a full fight camp.

“Between the September/November area hopefully,” Kawa targeted for Jones’ return. “You’ve got to understand if he comes back June 11, the first day he’d be back is that Monday, and he’s not going to be able to go full speed that day and start an eight-week camp from that moment (to fight) Aug. 6.”

Jones was originally scheduled to face Rashad Evans, most likely in August at UFC 133. After the UFC light heavyweight champion was diagnosed with the thumb injury and was told surgery was required, the promotion opted to give Evans another fight and he is now scheduled to face Phil Davis on the Philadelphia card.

With the new information regarding Jones’ recovery and timeline for a return, it’s unknown if the UFC will change its schedule and pull Evans from the bout to potentially fight for the title a month or so later.

According to Jones’ manager, there are all kinds of possibilities on who his fighter could face next, but they are open to whatever the UFC decides.

“I’m thinking it could be Rampage (Jackson)/(Matt) Hamill, it could be (Lyoto) Machida, it could still be Rashad, you never know,” said Kawa. “At this point, it’s just the waiting game.”


Damon Martin is the lead staff writer and radio host for MMAWeekly.com.
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@DamonMartin on Twitter or e-mail Damon a question or comment.


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