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Jon Jones: Will His Injured Thumb Allow for Cooler Heads To Prevail?

LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 01:  Mixed martial artist Jon Jones arrives at the third annual Fighters Only World Mixed Martial Arts Awards 2010 at the Palms Casino Resort December 1, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Anthony BrancatoCorrespondent IApril 27, 2011

An old joke states that if you don't like the weather in England, wait five minutes.

The same goes for the "weather" in the UFC light-heavyweight division.

That was quite a storm that was apparently brewing between the newly-crowned champion of that weight class, Jon Jones, and former title-holder and now former teammate Rashad Evans.

But that storm abruptly blew out to sea with the announcement that Jones tore a ligament in his thumb during his smashing victory over Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC 128, and will now have surgery on the thumb, sidelining him indefinitely and putting his first title defense against Evans on hold.

Evans, for his part, has left Greg Jackson's Albuquerque-based camp, and sort of set up his own headquarters at Imperial Athletics in Boca Raton, Florida.

But could this separation turn out to be temporary?

Remember that Diego Sanchez, who like Evans was an early season winner on The Ultimate Fighter, also left Jackson's, only to be welcomed back later; and not only that, but the two disputes bear a great deal of similarity to one another, with Sanchez seeing himself at loggerheads with UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, echoing Evans' contretemps with Jones.

Worse yet, Sanchez's mother actually thrust herself into the middle of it, where, by contrast, Evans' mother has urged conciliation on his part.

Evans should, and almost certainly will, stay put at Imperial at least until his fight against Phil Davis at UFC 133 on August 6 in Philadelphia. Clearly he owes them that much.

But what if he loses either that fight or the title bout vs. Jones that would logically follow should he win, quite possibly on the New Year's Eve card in Las Vegas the UFC always puts on?

In either case, Evans may very well move down to middleweight, a weight class to which many if not most see him as ideally suited, rendering his rivalry with Jones inoperative; and Greg Jackson has gone on record as stating that his door will always be open to Evans' return.

But what if the corresponding scenario were to arise again, this time involving Evans and rising UFC middleweight Brian Stann?

The unfortunate experience between Evans and Jones would serve as a blueprint—of how not to handle it if it did.

An intriguing possibility is that Jackson could merely take over the Boca Raton operation, turning it into a satellite camp in the same vein as Grudge Training Center in Colorado — with Mike Van Arsdale, who has accompanied Evans to Florida, as its head coach.

Evans and Jackson have been together far too long for a simple misunderstanding like this to destroy what has been such a successful and mutually beneficial relationship.

So come on, guys—do the right thing. 

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