“I think the problem is that Rashad needs to fight. Here’s the other issue. Rashad hasn’t fought and he needs to fight right away, well… he needs to fight, basically. So the issue here, because normally what would have happened is, hey, Jon can probably be back in Oct. and if you’re going to fight in Aug. let’s just wait two more months. The issue is, let’s just say that Jon’s hand isn’t healed by then, let’s say that Jon goes back to training camp in June or July and he goes and punches the mit and it goes and swells back up again and we decide that surgery is the best option because now that it’s been healed and the swelling has gone away, lets say that the pain immediately comes back. Then Jon says, ‘You know what, my hand is really killing.’ Let’s say that that happens, then what? Rashad is going to miss out on another opportunity to fight. So the fact of the matter is, I told the UFC, until Jon has all the pain and swelling in his hand go away, I didn’t feel comfortable scheduling a fight. That’s why they didn’t schedule it. We couldn’t commit to an Aug. fight. I feel comfortable today committing to an Oct. fight… [The UFC] didn’t say no. We asked them to set something up with us as soon as possible. We said to them that we think we can be back in Oct. or maybe very late Sept. and Rashad has a fight with Phil Davis. That’s the problem; he already has a fight booked. So they said depending on certain things that happen in the next couple weeks, maybe couple months, they would let us know what availability there was and what timeline and date and we have to stay in contact with them as far as his hand and let them know when he’s really 100 percent ready and in shape and we can schedule something eight weeks in advance so that he may have a fight. In my opinion, he’s going to fight before the end of the year. Do we have an opponent? No. Do we wish it was Rashad Evans? Yes. Will that happen? Chances are probably not, he’s fighting Phil Davis.”
— Jon Jones’ manager Malki Kawa, via MMA Mania, trying to explain why Jon Jones isn’t fighting Rashad Evans this fall
I’m confused. So they feel comfortable committing to a fight in October, just not against Rashad Evans because they’re concerned about him having to wait even longer to fight if Jones has issues with his hand again? I guess that makes sense on some level, but I’m still having a difficult time understanding exactly how we got into this mess in the first place despite Kawa’s best attempt to explain it. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and blame it on my low level of brain activity at two in the morning, but regardless, it doesn’t look like Jon Jones is going to fight Rashad Evans anytime soon (although he promises he will at some point).
Finding Jones an opponent isn’t your run of the mill task though. This is a title fight we’re talking about and as it sits now, there aren’t any clear cut contenders. Rampage Jackson could emerge as a top contender if he beats Matt Hamill next weekend, but he seems less and less interested in his MMA career every time he does an interview. All the talk about wanting his belt back has been replaced about making the big bucks in Hollywood and retiring in two years. I suppose an apathetic Rampage would still do, but it’s hard to get excited to see someone fight for a title when they’re not all that excited about it themselves. There’s Lyoto Machida, but he’s 1-2 in his last three with his sole win against the now retired Randy Couture. I suppose he would do if it really came down to it, but we are talking about a fighter who only three weeks ago was one loss away from potentially being cut (well, probably not, but he really needed that win). That leaves Rashad Evans and Phil Davis, but as Kawa says, they’re already booked.
What a clusterf—.