jon-jones-54.jpgLAS VEGAS – Jon Jones has been one of the UFC’s most active champions, but his length of time for his return after his most recent title defense may turn out to be lengthy.

Jones (18-1 MMA, 12-1 UFC) injured his toe in his UFC 159 win over Chael Sonnen (27-13-1 MMA, 6-6 UFC). But now it appears the damage could have him on the shelf for perhaps even a half-year.

UFC President Dana White on Thursday said his light heavyweight champion, currently in Russia and scheduled to return to the States this weekend, has ligament damage in the toe he injured in the fight, and that type of injury comes with an unspecified time table for return.

“We talked (Wednesday),” White said of Jones. “His thing is, he says he feels great and the toe’s healing good. But the problem was that ligament. That ligament popped. Anywhere you tear a ligament, blood flow helps the thing repair itself and heal, and you don’t get a lot of blood flow at the toe.”

But as for when Jones might be able to return and defend his title – going after a 205-pound record sixth straight defense – White isn’t sure.

“Who knows – this thing could be six weeks, or it could be six months,” White said. “It’s a pain in the ass. It’s always some crazy little thing. He’s in Russia, and when it gets back he’s getting an MRI done on his toe again.”

Jones beat Sonnen handily with a first-round TKO in Newark, N.J., in late April. But it wasn’t until after the fight was over, while being interviewed by Joe Rogan, was the toe injury noticed.

After winning the title against Mauricio Rua at UFC 128, Jones has successfully defended the belt against Quinton Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans and Vitor Belfort before making quick work of Sonnen.

In UFC title fights, Jones has fought on average once every four months or so. But if White’s early high-end prognosis comes to pass, it could wind up being the longest length of time Jones has ever gone without a fight in his pro career.

For complete coverage of UFC 159, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.

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