UFC 232: Has Jon Jones’ Career Been Lengthened Due to His Suspensions?

Jon Jones

Due to suspensions stemming from USADA and legal issues, Jon Jones has fought only three times since 2014. But, according to one of the former champ’s coaches, that time away from fighting has lengthened “Bones'” fighting career.

As a result of two suspensions from USADA (the star has denied every knowingly taking any type of performance-enhancing drug), as well as Jones’ well documented hit-and-run incident, the 31-year-old’s career has slowed down in recent years. When Jones returns to the cage on December 29th to fight Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232, it will be his first bout of 2018 and just his second since 2015.

Recently Jones’ striking coach, Brandon Gibson, was a guest on “The MMA Hour“. While discussing Jone’s career, and his time away from fighting, he said this (quotes via MMA Mania):

“He’s not getting his brains battered in,” Gibson said. “He’s not getting concussions. He’s taking care of his body and his mind, and this is such a — at this top one percent, these guys are tough. He has a long fight career ahead of him still, and he really feels like this time off has prolonged his career that much more.”

“If he was still fighting three to five times a year like he was when he was younger, I think that will burn guys out early,” Gibson added. “I think that’s where you start seeing the guys in their mid-thirties that are slow, that are not reacting, that can’t pull the trigger, that just aren’t recognizing things like they used to, and I think a lot of that comes with just the toll of the training camps in addition to the fights.”

It’s an interesting argument, and chances are his health is a better place, as a result of having less sparring sessions and fights over the past few years.

One could argue, however, that if Jones had been fighting more regularly, he might have just decided to retire earlier.  Further, what would Jones’ resume look like now? If he had been fighting even two times per year since 2014? It’s hard to say, but based off his abilities, there’s a good chance it would be even more impressive. Maybe Jones would have fought at heavyweight by now? And won the heavyweight title like his rival Daniel Cormier?

All this aside, it’s going to be interesting to see how he looks against Gustafsson at UFC 232. That card will go down in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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