Jon Jones on the Sidelines Due to Vitor Belfort Armbar, Champion Plans to “Embrace Jiu-Jitsu More”
By Kelsey Mowatt
While as expected, Jon Jones pounded his way to another decisive victory over Vitor Belfort last night in Toronto, Ontario, the middleweight challenger prompted a collective gasp throughout the MMA world by catching Jones with an early armbar. Despite it’s beautiful timing, of course, Jones managed to power his way through the submission, and went on to dominate the UFC 152 headliner in his usual fashion.
Although the armbar would end up being Belfort’s sole shining moment, somewhat similar to his 2004, stoppage loss to Randy Couture, it likely will stand as the new ‘remember when’ marker in terms of what’s tested Jones to date. Lyoto Machida’s opening round offense at UFC 140, of course, was the previous standard.
Case in point, Jones revealed at the post fight presser that he may have suffered nerve damage as a result of the submission attempt, meaning that the 25 year-old star could be on the sidelines for some time. After fighting four times in 2011 and twice in 2012, the light-heavyweight division could have several months now to determine who will challenge Jones next.
“We haven’t been able to get it X-rayed yet, but they think there might be nerve damage,” Jones said afterwards, when asked about the severity of his injury. “So, I don’t know.”
That revelation wasn’t the only interesting thing Jones had to say afterwards, as the pound-for-pound contender also admitted that jiu-jitsu hasn’t been something that he spends a lot of time working on. Sure, Jones tapped out a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt with a nicely executed keylock, but Belfort did reveal, at the very least, that the champion can be caught.
“I think it was a good performance, but I think there was definitely a lot of room to improve,” Jones acknowledged. “Vitor had me second guessing. I just need to get more comfortable in the Octagon. I work so hard on my stand-up and wrestling and things but I need to embrace jiu-jitsu more. Be a person that practices what I preach. I definitely preach being a mixed-martial-artist and being passionate about all martial arts, but I can admit that jiu-jitsu isn’t something that I do every day.”
With the UFC 151 debacle fading into the background, and other challengers like Dan Henderson, Alexander Gustafsson, Machida and possibly Chael Sonnen waiting in the wings, the reign of Jones is expected to continue. Who can prompt the champion to reconsider where he needs to improve his game further, however, remains to be seen.