Jon Jones nearly left one of his big toes in the Octagon on Saturday night in spite of an otherwise dominant victory over Chael Sonnen in the UFC 159 main event.
Shortly after the light heavyweight title headliner concluded, Sherdog.com’s Jon Gelber confirmed with the cage-side physician that Jones’ injury was an open fracture dislocation, meaning that bone was exposed. A host of images and videos now appearing online also verify that fact.
The injury leaves the UFC light heavyweight champion in a state of uncertainty, as it is unclear how long such an injury will take to mend. Nevertheless, Jones is already viewing the forthcoming rehabilitation process as an opportunity to grow.
“When the fight was over, I saw blood. Then, I looked closer and realized that my toe was pretty much upside down, but it’s all good,” Jones told Fox Sports following his win at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. “I was planning on working harder in my off season and doing things even better and cleaner, and this is going to give me a great reason to do that, rehabbing my big toe -- not only getting it back to strength, but making it even stronger than it was before. A [broken] big toe isn’t going to slow me down.”
Jones, who finished Sonnen with just 27 seconds remaining in the first round, said he was unable to remember exactly when the injury took place. However, the champion was readily able to recall the physical sensation of the event.
“I was springing forward, and I felt a pop. I thought my foot got caught in a hole,” said Jones. “I had that happen at Jackson’s [MMA]. We had a little hole in our floor canvas, and I stuck my big toe in there. It was fine, but I said, ‘Coach, you gotta get that fixed, because it’s pretty dangerous.’ I thought that was the scenario here tonight.”
Following the bout, fans and media postulated what would have occurred had Sonnen survived Jones’ onslaught of ground-and-pound to see a second round. While it is likely that the cageside doctor would have halted the action and a no-contest would have been rendered, Jones said that he would have continued to compete if possible.
“Honestly, with the coaching staff I have, I don’t think my coaches would have allowed me to dwell on [the toe] too much,” said Jones. “I think they would have tried twisting on it and [they would have made] me go back out there. That’s the name of the game. I try to live like a warrior, and unless I go through crazy stuff, I’ll never know how much of a warrior I can be.”
With his victory over Sonnen, Jones tied Tito Ortiz’s record for successful light heavyweight title defenses. Should Jones pick up a victory in his next outing, he would alone hold the record with six defenses of the belt. While much will surely ride upon that contest when it is booked, Jones seems more concerned with healing his body than with calling out future challengers.
“I’m not going to [call out someone]. Tonight is a great night for me. I’m just going to be grateful for what I’ve achieved tonight and let everybody else rest easy,” said Jones. “I don’t know the extent of this injury, but I will be taking it seriously and doing everything I can to rehab it and make sure I’m 100 percent before getting back in there. I think I have a great thing going, and there’s no need to rush and not heal myself properly.”