New York - Fans will have to wait a little longer to see Jon Jones fight Rashad Evans.
Jones was forced to pull out of the title fight due to a torn ligament he suffered in his right hand during the Mauricio "Shogun" Rua fight at UFC 128, Jones' Manager Malki Kawa confirmed with Versus.com.
The Canadian Press first reported the news on Monday.
An MRI conducted last week revealed that Jones had torn a ligament in his right hand. According to Kawa, Jones complained of the injury immediately after the fight but thought it would get better in time. He decided to get MRI last week after it was clear the pain was not going away on its own.
The decision to pull out of the fight was made approximately two days ago when Jones' doctor suggested he have surgery to repair the hand.
The surgery will be performed by Dr. Steven Sanders in Las Vegas. Jones is hoping to have it done in the next week, but according to Kawa, no date has been set just yet.
Jones has been told that, if all goes well, he will be back to 100% in two-to-three months.
“This is an injury that’s been recurring since I was a college wrestler, it doesn’t affect my punching or grappling, but I am taking the time and the proper measures to correct this now, so that it doesn’t happen again,” Jones said in a press release issued by his management, Authentic Sports Management. “I look forward to getting back to training and to my first title defense. As for Rashad, let’s see what happens with Phil Davis. I will be watching that fight with great interest.”
In the meantime, the UFC booked Evans vs. Phil Davis at UFC 133 on August 6 in Philadelphia.
According to Evans' manager, Glenn Robinson, "Suga" had no interest in waiting for Jones to heal.
"Rashad wants to fight," Robinson said. "Rashad wants to get back in there. This was a complete harmonious thing [with the UFC]. It was done in cooperation with the UFC, and we're very happy about it."
Robinson added that Davis "was the only (opponent) that made sense," considering the fact that all the top light heavyweights were either booked in other fights or coming off losses.
“I’m looking forward to fighting Phil Davis August 6th at UFC 133, he’s a strong wrestler and a rising star in the light heavyweight division,” Evans said in the same release issued by ASM. “I wish Jon Jones a speedy recovery, he has something that belongs to me and when he’s ready, I’ll be waiting.”
Davis (9-0) most recently defeated Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC Fight Night 24. Evans (15-1-1) hasn't competed since he defeated Quinton Jackson at UFC 114 last May. He waited for then-champion "Shogun" Rua to recover from knee surgery and then injured his knee in training prior to his scheduled UFC 128 title fight.
Jones ended up replacing his former training partner Evans and defeated Rua via third-round TKO.
Asked whether there was a chance the change in opponent could lead to Evans returning to train with Greg Jackson's team in New Mexico, which he announced after Jones' title win that he would never be a part of again, Robinson replied, "no chance whatsoever."
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Jon Jones talks to the press after taking the light heavyweight title from Mauricio "Shogun" Rua.