UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones won’t undergo a planned surgery for a hand injury that forced him out of an August fight with former teammate-turned-rival Rashad Evans and plans on returning to the Octagon by the end of the year.
Jones was scheduled to undergo surgery this week to repair a torn ligament in his thumb, but opted out of the procedure after the surgeon advised him it was too invasive, according to his agent, Malki Kawa.
“Bones” is still recovering from the injury, but has already met with the UFC to begin plans for his first title defense, which is expected to come before the end of the year, but not against Evans, who is now scheduled to face fellow contender Phil Davis at UFC 133.
Jones (13-1) won the title with a third-round TKO of Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in March, just six weeks after earning a shot at the belt with a February win over Ryan Bader.
Next to the Evans-Davis winner, the next contender at 205-pounds is likely former champ Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, who faces Matt Hamill later this month in the main event of UFC 130.
The news follows a reported altercation between Jones and Evans while in Las Vegas this week for the UFC Fighter Summit that was allegedly broken up by welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre.