UFC: Jon Jones Says He “Definitely Won’t Be Going Back” to Jackson-Wink MMA

UFC 239 Jon Jones Rankings
Jon Jones Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

For a long time, Jon Jones was practically synonymous with Jackson-Wink MMA. But after being banned from the gym, at least temporarily, following a domestic violence incident in September, the former UFC light heavyweight champion says he “definitely won’t be going back” to the famed Albuquerque camp.

In a series of statements on social media following Saturday’s UFC 268 card, Jones wrote that he “definitely won’t be going back but I will continue to root for all the fighters that are training there. I do believe my training methods and sessions have improved significantly since changing environments. Grateful for all the time I got to spend there, everything has its time.”

In terms of “changing environments,” Jones hinted that while he’s been working out in his garage lately, he’ll be looking for new camps and sparring partners to work with.

I know I won’t be able to train in my garage forever, eventually I’m going to need more training partners,” wrote Jones. “Mainly wrestling partners and kickboxers. I’m on the lookout for teams that I’ll be able to visit and come train with, maybe get some sparring sessions in.”

The comments appear to have come about after Jones noted coach Trevor Wittman went three-for-three at UFC 268, and when a fan asked Jones for his reaction to Chito Vera’s win over Frankie Edgar. Vera floored the former lightweight champion with a front kick to the face on the main card of the New York event. Jones replied that he “couldn’t be happier” for Vera.

That led to another fan suggesting that Jones had “carried the team” when it came to Jackson-Wink, which Jones denied. “I don’t feel like I carried the team, we have lots of guys doing amazing things out of that gym,” Jones replied. “I will admit the program isn’t at the level it used to be, and hasn’t been for a while now.”

Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn, who founded the New Mexico institution, were on hand for Jones’ rise to stardom, which culminated in a record-setting light heavyweight championship reign. However, Jones’ troubles outside of the octagon soon began to pile up: drunk driving charges, car crashes, multiple drug test failures, and being stripped of his title on three separate occasions.

After being arrested following his Hall of Fame induction in September (for his UFC 165 fight with Alexander Gustafsson), however, Winkeljohn for one had seen enough. He appeared on Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour last month, revealing that Jones had been banned from the gym. “You’re like my little brother. You have to stop drinking and fix these things for a certain period of time until you come back to the gym,” he recalled telling the ex-champ.

In a statement provided a short time later to ESPN, a Jackson-Wink MMA spokesperson suggested the ban was only temporary.

Jones (26-1, 1NC), however, appears ready to move on. The 34-year old has not competed since his February 2020 win against Dominick Reyes. After vacating the title later that year, Jones began focusing on a move to heavyweight, while at the same time finding himself embroiled in a very public dispute with UFC President Dana White over pay.