Jon Jones Likely Won't Return to Fight Dan Henderson Until August or September

Jeremy BotterMMA Senior WriterApril 30, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 21:  Jon Jones (L) elbows Rashad Evans during their light heavyweight title bout for UFC 145 at Philips Arena on April 21, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Jon Jones has been one of the busiest fighters in the UFC over the past 14 months or so. He's easily the most active champion, having made three title defenses since the last time Anderson Silva defended his belt.

Jones said after UFC 145 that he wanted to fight three times in 2012. He has one of those fights out of the way, and his next bout will come against Dan Henderson. But according to Jones' manager Malki Kawa, the Light Heavyweight Champion wants to take a little time off before returning to the cage. Jones was rumored to fight on the UFC 149 card in Calgary, but Kawa says it's too soon for Jones to return to the cage:

"He will not be fighting in July," Kawa said. "It's just probably a little too soon. There's been no timetable yet but July probably isn't going to happen."

September looks like a more likely date for Jones vs. Henderson. UFC 150, which takes place on August 11, would have been a good date for the fight, but that show will likely be headlined by the rematch between lightweight champion Benson Henderson and former champ Frankie Edgar.

Two title fights are a possibility for that show. It is UFC 150, after all, a landmark event in the UFC's history. But the UFC tries to avoid booking two title fights on the same card whenever possible, and they're already doing two championship fights on one card at UFC 148.

The UFC will return to Toronto on September 22. As of right now, that show will be UFC 151—a good fit for Jones vs. Henderson. Jones defeated Lyoto Machida in Toronto in December, and the UFC likes to headline Toronto cards with title fights.

If Jones fights in September, he will need to execute another quick turnaround and fight in December in order to meet his goal of three fights in 2012. But that should be easy for Jones, as he's used to being an active fighter.

If Jones gets by Henderson, who should be the opponent for his final fight of 2012? Alexander Gustafsson is the only opponent who really makes sense, at least right now.

Could we finally witness a move to heavyweight at the end of the year?