Chael Sonnen seems to have been right about Jon Jones coming into UFC 285 with an injury.
“The American Gangster” caused some serious waves leading up to Jones’ heavyweight debut by claiming “Bones” was clearly suffering some sort of injury. His evidence: two episodes of UFC Embedded that showed Jon in the pool.
We can’t confirm or deny whether Sonnen hit a bullseye with this specific prognostication, but he was right: Jon Jones was injured coming into his fight against Ciryl Gane, and the injury was so bad it prevented the new UFC heavyweight champion from sparring. Fortunately, it didn’t stop him from taking Gane down and submitting him two minutes into the first round (watch the highlights here).
“I actually was dealing with a slight injury before this fight and didn’t really spar many times,” Jones said at the UFC 285 post-fight press conference. “I sparred a total of three times in this training camp. So my striking felt a little unfamiliar. I’d drilled a lot, I did a lot of smart drilling. But I didn’t spar a lot. And so when I was out there, it was almost like I was trying to remember how to do it, fight on the feet, for a moment.
Thankfully that didn’t last for long, I was able to get my hands on [Gane]. And that’s something I’ve been doing my whole life, I’ve been wrestling and grappling my whole life. I feel like my jiu jitsu is at an all-time high, and my wrestling confidence is at an all-time high. And that just may be my style moving forward: getting away from the kickboxing. I want to save braincells, and fighting on the ground is just a lot more advantageous.
Jon Jones talks about how he broke his toe against Chael Sonnen pic.twitter.com/9uHPnXRCbl— Brock’s Load (@_MMAMindset) March 3, 2023
Jones said the injury was unrelated to the tape incident that occurred just before he entered the Octagon. Nevada commission members blocked “Bones” from stepping into the cage until he cut a bunch of tape off from around his foot. That stems from an injury suffered in 2013 against ... Chael Sonnen! Jones rolled his toe stuffing a takedown, and his big toe broke sideways.
“I always tape my feet. I’m not going to compete if I can’t tape my toes,” he said. “I just won’t do it, I want everyone to know that for the future. So thank God we didn’t have a disaster out there tonight.”
Jones didn’t need much striking to defeat Ciryl Gane at UFC 285. He’ll have to get things sorted before fighting Stipe Miocic sometime this summer. Miocic is definitely head and shoulders above Gane in the wrestling department, and won’t end up on the canvas as easily as “Bon Gamin.”