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Jon Jones apologizes to fans, slated to undergo surgery on injured leg

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones expressed remorse to fight fans on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after a leg injury forced him to withdraw from his widely-anticipated title defense against former Olympic wrestler Daniel Cormier at UFC 178.

"I'd like to apologize to all the fans who were excited for UFC 178," Jones wrote on Facebook. "Earlier this week, I suffered an injury while training for the fight. I'm having surgery tomorrow and I'm focused on recovering as quickly as possible. I look forward to getting back in the gym and defending my title on Jan. 3 in Las Vegas."

Jones reportedly suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee, as well as a sprained ankle during a wrestling practice in Albuquerque on Monday.

The injury, and Jones' subsequent withdrawal, effectively killed the most heavily-anticipated UFC fight of 2014, which had gathered immense momentum in light of the brawl between Jones and Cormier at the MGM Grand Garden Hotel & Casino and subsequent leaked footage of the two fighters trading profane words off-air the very same day.

As a result, Jones' fight against Cormier has been postponed to headline UFC 182 on January 3, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Demetrious Johnson vs. Chris Cariaso has been shifted into the new main event of UFC 178, which is set to take place September 27.

"It's very disappointing," Cormier told MMAFighting.com on Tuesday. "I started to train very hard. It's a little discouraging, but now I have time to get completely healthy. I don't know how hurt Jon is but we have to remember that I took this fight with a pre-existing (knee) injury. I could have fought through it, I just wish he would have done the same."