source: Dann Stupp and Christian Stein | mmajunkie.com
Jon Jones entered UFC 135's post-fight press conference with as many ice packs as bruises.
Despite a fourth-submission victory over Quinton "Rampage" Jackson in his first title defense, Jones was issued a six-month medical suspension, and he needed a doctor's examination to rule out any serious injuries.
But UFC president Dana White said Jones essentially got a clean bill of health. Still, he's in no hurry to bring Jones back.
Jones, who's quickly emerged as one of the sport's biggest stars, is next slated to fight top contender Rashad Evans. December's UFC 140 event could use a headliner, but White hinted that Jones, whose medical suspension can end early with a doctor's approval, may not be back before year's end.
"He's good," White, who recently met with the 24-year-old champ, told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "He's 100 percent. I talked to him [on Saturday], and he said he feels great. The only thing that's sore on him is his calf. It's a little sore."
Evans, who scored a TKO victory over Tito Ortiz on Aug. 6, was brought into the cage to hype his upcoming title fight with the champ. But like Jones, the ex-champ could get some time to recover.
"I'd like to give these guys time to rest and give them a little break, so we'll see what happens," White said.
Evans, who did a UFC 135 Q&A session wearing a right-wrist and thumb cast, has fought once in 2011. Jones already has fought three times, which included a March title victory over Mauricio "Shogun" Rua.
With a budding rivalry with Jackson, Jones' UFC 135 fight did big business. The event drew the third-largest attendance of the year and also scored a healthy $2.1 million gate. Jones and Jackson's real-life rivalry provided plenty of storylines and brought significant media attention to the pay-per-view event.
But the buzz could see new heights with Evans, a former training partner who had a high-profile split with Team Jackson-Winkeljohn and head trainer Greg Jackson because of Jones. The fighters have bickered in the media, and their rivalry has been one of the year's biggest stories.
Still, it could be 2012 before the beef is settled.