It seemed like Santos was impacted by a left knee injury during the fight, but the fighter was also impacted by a right knee surgery a few months before the title encounter.
“The camp started with a 45-day delay (due to Santos having knee surgery) and Thiago only had two months to prepare for this fight, but still didn’t want to pull out,” Tata Duarte said to MMA Fighting. “The doctor gave us a timeline but we had a problem later. Heather (Linden), physical therapist of the UFC, was the one who recovered his knee. She was at UFC 237 in Rio and kept working on his knee for six days straight and found out what the problem was and was able to fix it. That’s when he started his camp. We told him, ‘Thiago, let’s pull out of the fight,’ and he said, ‘No, I won’t pull out.’ He didn’t want to. We did this camp in two months. It should have been at least three months, but we didn’t have that time.”
Duarte also revealed that Santos is scheduled to meet with a doctor today to find out the extent of the damage suffered at UFC 239.
One thing Duarte firmly believes is that Santos would’ve put Jones out if he wasn’t hampered by the knee injury.
“If that knee hadn’t stopped him, Jon Jones would have gone down, no doubt,” Duarte said. “Our game plan was all set, ‘Marreta’ was seeing everything. And after he started hurting Jon Jones’ legs he began to lose mobility, it was too easy to put him out, man, but we counted on switching stances to get it done. He started the combinations but couldn’t continue.”
Santos suffered his first loss at light heavyweight at UFC 239, but he was also the first fighter to lose to Jones via split decision.