(A slung-up Jon Jones shares a friendly rape-choke with a companion following UFC 152. Photo via GracieMag)
It sure looked as if Vitor Belfort managed to injure Jon Jones during their light-heavyweight title bout on Saturday night at UFC 152, when he latched onto Bones’ right arm with an armbar early in the first round. Despite having his limb dangerously hyper extended, Jones gritted through it, fought on, and eventually won with his own armlock in the fourth round.
After the fight Jones was in obvious discomfort, holding his right elbow as Joe Rogan interviewed him. Sure enough, the champ showed up late to the post-event press conference with his arm in a sling, saying that doctors had told him he might have nerve damage as a result of Belfort’s arm bar.
Jones was planning to head to a hospital after the presser to receive X-rays on his arm. No official word has been released from the UFC or Jones’s camp since Saturday night, but nerve damage in his arm would certainly be serious enough to sideline the champ for some time, to say nothing of any possible bone breaks or tendon or ligament injuries he may have sustained.
As he told reporters at the UFC 152 press conference, Jones thought that Belfort was going to break the arm and get the win in the first round, before Jones miraculously escaped. “It was popping, and I felt after 25 years that I’ve never felt that feeling before. I just came to terms with what was going to happen, just thinking, ‘Man, I can’t believe I’m getting ready to lose this way,’” he said.
Still, Jones maintains that tapping out never occurred to him. Apparently, taking his Jiu Jitsu training seriously prior to the fight didn’t, either.
“I have to admit I don’t practice my Jiu-Jitsu every day,” Jones said. ”I work so hard on my wrestling and so hard on my standup. I definitely need to embrace jiu-jitsu more and practice what I preach, being a true mixed martial artist and embracing all martial arts,” he said.
It’s hard to imagine how Jones and his vaunted coaches could ignore the style of fighting that the entire sport of MMA is based on, but it sounds like they won’t be making that mistake again.
Ultimately Jones said he was glad for the test and lesson. He learned what he needs to improved and also a little bit about what he’s made of. “I just remember getting to that second round, thanking God that I had gotten out of that armbar, and thanking God for that adversity,” he said.
“I honestly thank God just for having a hurt arm, just to prove to myself and prove to my coaches that all the speeches and all the stories I heard about warriors, just to be able to prove that I can be a warrior as well, I was grateful to be able to come back from something.”