Thiago Santos showed courage through all five rounds of a split-decision loss this month at UFC 239 and now his opponent, UFC light heavyweight winner Jon Jones, is encouraging him to keep showing it while he recovers.
Jones won the closest match of his career after which both men had to be helped to the locker room.
Santos struggles with recovery
Days after the decision, Santo’s manager told ESPN the fighter tore his ACL, MCL, PCL and meniscus of his left knee as the first round ended.
Nearly three weeks after the fight, and a week after having surgery on both knees, the Brazilian shared a brutally honest update on his recovery. In a Twitter post, he wrote the days are tough and “filled with a lot of pain,” and it showed him pulling himself out of his wheelchair to use a walker.
It’s been 7 days since the surgeries on my knees. I must admit, these days are tough, filled with a lot of pain. I can’t sleep or eat properly due to the medications. I even fear using the bathroom because the walk there is a battle. Thank God the pain is subsiding. pic.twitter.com/2oD39DEsvN
— Thiago Marreta (@TMarretaMMA) July 25, 2019
Santos will reportedly be out for the rest of the year.
Jones gives Santos encouragement
Jones, who himself was seen in a wheelchair after the fight, tweeted his support to the fellow fighter and reminded him, “God gives his toughest battles to his toughest soldiers.”
Remember God gives his toughest battles to his toughest soldiers. Life is all about perspective. Use this time wisely, I have no doubt you will. Handle this adversity with your head high, never know who you’re inspiring. God Speed https://t.co/WvtHkrzeDx
— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) July 25, 2019
Jones has experienced a hand injury early in his career and a leg injury during training in August 2014 that forced him to withdraw from a fight.
Will there be Jones vs. Santos rematch?
Santos and Jones both face medical suspensions until Jan. 3, 2020, based on X-rays and a lack of doctor clearance. When they return, which for Santos could be a calendar year, Jones seems ready to give him a rematch.
UFC president Dana White told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto hours after the match he thought Jones “clearly won” and “anyone who scored it for Santos should never score a fight again.” He said he was not interested in a rematch.
Jones, who’s widely regarded as the best pound-for-pound fighter and is undefeated except for a disqualification loss in 2009, is facing a legal issue in Las Vegas in which he was charged with battery.
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