It looks like UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is going to back in action sooner than expected.
Jones had planned to take a long vacation after fighting four times in 2011, but it seems he has changed his mind. In an interview with ESPN 1100 Radio, Dana White said Jones is cutting his vacation short to get back in the cage as soon as possible.
“[Jones] called about four days ago and said ‘okay let’s go, I’m done with vacation.'” UFC president Dana White said on “The MMA Insiders” on ESPN1100/98.9 FM in Las Vegas (12:37 mark). “He said he wanted to take all this time off and then they were calling me four days ago saying he wants to fight as soon as possible. He’s ready to go.”
In light of the news, it appears Rashad Evans is no longer a lock to get the first light heavyweight title shot in 2012 if he beats Phil Davis at UFC on FOX 2 later this month. It’s still a possibility, however Dana says Dan Henderson could snag the shot depending on how the timing works out.
“What could end up happening is Dan Henderson fights Jon Jones first, and then [Jones’ subsequent fight] would be close to the time that Rashad fights. Or we see how things go with Rashad [versus Phil Davis] and Rashad fights him first,” said White.
I would think it would be difficult for the UFC to pass on Jones vs. Evans if Rashad comes out of the FOX victorious and healthy, but I don’t think anyone would be too surprised if it didn’t happen either considering how many times it’s fallen through before. It’ll happen eventually but the UFC should definitely strike while the iron’s hot if the stars actually align this time. If not, Jones vs. Hendo is a pretty darn good consolation fight.