And So It Began: Jon Jones Returns to MMA Training after Injury Rehab to Defend His Title

One of the greatest MMA fighters of all time and the actual UFC heavyweight champion, Jon Jones, announced his return to training following his recovery after two surgeries. ‘Bones’ even shared with his Instagram followers a picture of himself in the gym on April 24, saying “First day back since my injury, felt amazing. And so it began.”

Fans are already speculating about probable opponents for Jon’s comeback fight – the long-awaited title defense which is likely to take place in 2024. Such matchups make MMA betting and watching particularly interesting, since as Althea Gibson noted, you cannot be considered a true champion in sport until you have defended your title. And only the greats know how to do it.

Injury and Recovery

Jon Jones had his title defense clash against Stipe Miocic scheduled in November 2023 at UFC 295, but it was forced to be cancelled since Jones tore his pectoral muscle two weeks before the fight and was expected to recover for a good part of the year. Within four months after surgery, ‘Bones’ announced that he had his second surgical procedure on his left elbow to shave down the bone spurs which had been disturbing him for a long time. It was all about killing two birds with one stone and getting another surgery while recovering from the first one.

Despite Jones revealing his return to the gym, he did not go into detail about the intensity of training. However, it’s still great to see ‘Bones’ on the way towards a big comeback.

What’s Next for ‘Bones’?

Jon Jones Posing
Vengo Films, CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

When the title defense fight was canceled, Stipe Miocic refused to meet a replacement opponent, and UFC arranged a clash for the interim heavyweight title between Tom Aspinall and Sergei Pavlovic, where Aspinall knocked out the Russian in just 69 seconds, which evoked huge delight in thousands of MMA fans. Such an impressive result has affected the overall picture of the heavyweight title, putting Aspinall in line to face Jones in the next fight.

However, UFC CEO Dana White is adamant that Stipe Miocic has to be the first Jones’s challenger, and ‘Bones’ strongly endorses this decision. He has even refused to take a face-off shot with Aspinall when they met at a recent fan event. So, Tom’s future is so far up in the air, but he is rumored to defend his interim crown against Ciryl Gane or Curtis Blaydes at the upcoming UFC 304 event in Manchester scheduled for this summer.

The planned 2023 fight of Jon Jones against Stipe Miocic was about to take place at Madison Square Garden in New York City, where Pavlovich suffered an embarrassing defeat from Aspinall, and UFC is determined to return there in November 2024. So, the Jones vs Miocic clash could be held at the world-renowned arena a year after it was originally set to happen there.

According to Dana White, this will be a big legacy matchup between the greatest heavyweight and the greatest MMA artist of all time. However, the 41-year-old Miocic had his last fight back in 2021 when he lost the crown to Francis Ngannou.

Implications and Expectations

Despite some uncertainties regarding Jon’s next opponent in the octagon, the UFC’s intention to rebook the historic clash between Jones and Miocic is obvious. The organization is committed to rescheduling the fight, probably making it a headline event in 2024, and such a dedication proves the importance of Jones’s comeback for the MMA community. His next fight holds enormous promise and will undoubtedly foster immersive interest within the UFC fan base.