Jon Jones: What a Long Layoff for Jones Would Mean to the UFC
In the post-fight press conference, as reported by ESPN, Jones speculated that the arm-bar likely caused nerve damage, which is a serious injury if true.
That would mean we could be waiting a long time before we see him squaring off against Dan Henderson, himself out with a knee injury, or Lyoto Machida, who was promised a title shot after he beat Ryan Bader in August.
Injuries have beset the UFC in recent years, with some of the promotion's top fighters, such as George St. Pierre and Jose Aldo, all still on the sidelines awaiting rehabilitation.
The consequences of Jones’ injury could mean the loss of one of the UFC’s biggest draws and a log jam in the division until he comes back.
That has been the fate of the welterweight division after GSP injured himself almost a year ago and is yet to see Octagon action.
The repercussions have been that none of the chasing welterweight pack, such as Carlos Condit or Johny Hendricks, have dared step into the Octagon, lest they risk losing their contenders spot.
Similarly, we may see that at 205, with the champion on the sidelines, other fighters may also pull themselves out of action.
For one, Henderson, even if he does return from injury before Jones, is likely to wait it out rather than risk losing his spot by taking another fight. That’s exactly what he did when he beat Mauricio Rua to earn his title shot last year—choosing to wait to see who the winner of Jones vs. Rashad Evans was in April rather than taking another fight.
Machida could also reach a similar decision. Even though "the Dragon" is expected to face another opponent before being named a challenger for the light heavyweight title, if that fight happens before the end of the year as expected, then he may also wait as long as it takes for Jones to return before choosing his next opponent.
It is always a problem for a promotion when a title-holder gets injured, and crowning an interim champion is never a satisfactory solution. But the much bigger problem is what happens to the rest of the division when all the top fighters decide to wait anxiously before deciding their next move.
If the GSP example is anything to go by, it could be a massive loss in revenue for the UFC. The Canadian has been the biggest star draw for the promotion and his loss has hit revenues hard.
A similar fate for the UFC’s rising star, Jon Jones, could be equally costly.
However, thankfully for the UFC, GSP is set to return to action in November in a much anticipated title fight against Carlos Condit. His return could easily compensate for any loss incurred by a Jones injury. What’s more, if GSP defeats Condit, then there’s the potential of a super-fight with Anderson Silva just around the corner.
So while the UFC will miss Jones, it may not turn out to be that big of a deal.
Khurram Aziz is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @khurramaziz1981
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