Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight champion Jon "Bones" Jones received medical clearance to fight and will make his first title defense on Sept. 24 in the main event of UFC 135 against Quinton "Rampage" Jackson at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
Jones, who won the title by stopping Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC 128 in March, has torn ligaments in his right hand. It was initially believed he would need surgery, and as a result, a potential fight with former teammate Rashad Evans was scuttled.
The champion was examined further and told he could avoid the surgery and fight. By that time, Evans had signed to face Phil Davis at UFC 133 in August, so a new opponent was needed. Following Jackson's win over Matt Hamill in Las Vegas on May 28 at UFC 130, UFC president Dana White said he'd make a Jones-Jackson fight if both men were healthy.
Jackson, a former champion who is coming off back-to-back wins over Hamill and Lyoto Machida, said he injured his left hand before his fight with Hamill. He said the injury prevented him from finishing the fight with Hamill.
But he also received medical clearance to fight and both men have verbally agreed to terms for the bout. It is likely, though not certain, that the Jones-Jackson winner would face Evans if Evans defeats Davis.