Jon Jones: Lingering injuries, desire to spend Christmas with family behind delayed return

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones discusses the reasons behind his delayed return to the Octagon

UFC Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones had the worst beating of his career put on him at UFC 165. Jones may have retained his title with a unanimous decision victory over No. 1 ranked contender Alexander Gustafsson, but he left the Octagon that night with enough damage to warrant an immediate trip to the hospital.

Jones' stay in the hospital was brief, and he did not suffer any significant injuries during the September contest, but that doesn't mean he's ready to get back in the mix and start training for his next title defense.

That title defense, against No. 2 ranked Glover Teixeira had originally been announced for UFC 170 in February, but the UFC walked back that announcement when Jones admitted he was not quite ready to take a fight so soon after the September bout against Gustafsson.

Jones, recently spoke to MMAJunkie.com about the reason he opted to delay his return to the Octagon:

My eye is definitely not ready to be punched. I'm afraid that it could reopen, which would make scarring terrible and prolong the whole thing even more. My foot is definitely not ready to go yet. I wake up to step off the bed, and it's cracking and crackling and stuff. I'm just not ready for the training camp.

Jones also admitted that family was another reason he was delaying his return to the Octagon until sometime in March:

I've spent the last three Christmases in Albuquerque, and I really want to just be with my family back in New York state and let my kids see Christmas the way it's supposed to be.

The UFC has not set a firm date for Jones' next title defense.

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