It's no secret that, if you're a Jon Jones fan, the better part of the last three years have sucked. There was a great fight in there, sure; his bout with Daniel Cormier was one for the ages. But, in-between injury delays, legal delays, and finally UFC suspension delays, the light heavyeweight GOAT has only competed three times since 2013, and two of those bouts were less than spectacular.
And just when it all seemed to be turning around, USADA struck. His latest suspension was over, he'd "turned over a new leaf" (again) and he'd got a return bout under his belt heading into a massive rematch at UFC 200, but all that came crashing down with word that Jones had failed a pre-fight drug test. For a man who has never really lost in the cage, it seems that Jones has found plenty of ways to lose outside of it. That's a point that his coach Mike Winkeljohn reiterated on a recent episode of Submission Radio:
"Oh no. You know what, assuming he doesn't get distracted on time off - and what we're talking about is just hypothetical," Winkeljohn said when asked if two years away could leave Jones less competitive. "I don't know how much time off, so I'm not sure if I should even worry about that at the moment. I've always said no one beats Jon Jones but himself. That's it. And he's got many, many years to keep going and figure this out if he's got the opportunity to and if it turns out that he's able to."
Speaking to Jones beating himself, Winkeljohn also talked about Jones getting pulled from UFC 200 and the responsibilities that Jones and his management need to have in making sure that all the substances Jones puts in his body are clean:
"Oh I was pissed off at that situation in that he's gotta be careful." Winkeljohn said about Jones getting pulled from UFC 200. "We've gotta be careful. Everyone's gotta be careful. Everything you put in your body, no matter who gives it to you, you can't just take whatever, because you never know what's in there, what it's tainted with, what's going to come up on a drug test. And I don't think he would have done anything out of the ordinary to try to do a performance enhancer type situation, but what's going on is apparently something's tainted and hopefully that's what's going to come out here soon and then hopefully all this bad talk about Jon Jones will start going away and we'll get him back to fighting."
"I think it's both," he continued, talking about whether it's on Jones or his management to check his supplements. "You know, I think it's both. There's no doubt about it and he's learned - I think he's learned that he's gotta pay attention to these things and his management has learned that they gotta help him pay attention to those things. So everybody is getting on board and paying attention a little bit more, because these tests are popping up and it seems to be happening quite often that people are taking something that was made by a company that has some illegal stuff, and maybe they're using the same machines to pack it. I'm not sure how it happens, but trace amounts are coming up. So with that being said, people just have to be really careful and just go back to eating normal diets and don't take anything else but vegetables and meats and good food."
There's still no official word on just how long Jones can expect to be suspended, but he was recently removed from the UFC rankings, a potential sign that the promotion is preparing to see him on the bench for a while.