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Manager: Jon Jones may never return to MMA

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The UFC has suspended Jon Jones indefinitely following his felony arrest last week. But even if that suspension is lifted, Jones might not return to fighting, according to his manager Malki Kawa.

"It could very well be the last time we've seen Jon Jones in the Octagon," Kawa told Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "I think Jon Jones is gonna focus on Jon Jones. I think he's gonna take the time to do whatever he's gotta do. And if it's the last time we've seen him fight, it's the last time we've seen him fight. And I'm OK with that."

Jones was arrested last week on a felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident involving personal injury or death. He is being accused of fleeing on foot after running a red light in a rental vehicle and striking another car, breaking the arm of a pregnant woman inside of it.

Last Tuesday, Jones made his felony first appearance in San Bernalillo (N.M.) Country Metropolitan Court. He was released on continued bond of $2,500. That night, the UFC announced it was stripping Jones of his light heavyweight title and suspending him indefinitely. The district attorney now has to determine whether or not to bring Jones' case to a grand jury.

Jones, 27, was supposed to fight Anthony Johnson in the main event of UFC 187 on May 23 in Las Vegas. The UFC pulled Jones from the fight and inserted Daniel Cormier. Johnson and Cormier will fight for the vacant title, though Jones is considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

Kawa would not be specific as to why Jones would not come back, saying only that it is his decision and his decision alone.

"What I can just tell you and you guys can read between the lines is that I think every athlete comes to a point and it's not just Jon Jones," Kawa said. "I've had other guys when they look in the mirror one day, they realize that a lot of it maybe is just sometimes too much. It's just too much. If you don't fight a guy on seven days notice, you're trash. If you stop a mugger, you're a great guy, thanks so much. Now you're the new world champion, you have to do all these interviews. There's so much that goes into it. It's not just him, that's what I'm trying to tell you. You see it with GSP, you see it with Anderson."

Kawa added: "If he ever doesn't come back to the sport, it's because he doesn't want to come back to the sport. If it was because of too much pressure? Could be. If it's because of the belt? Could be. If it's because the competition is too much, it could be. Whatever he decides is the reason why he won't come back to the sport, but it'll be solely on him. I'm not gonna blame anything or anyone for anything Jon Jones does. And no one, at the same token, can take credit for anything Jon Jones does. Everything that's Jon Jones' is Jon Jones'. The good, the bad and the ugly.

"If this is the last time we've ever seen him fight and it very well may be, then it's because of a decision he's decided to make. It won't be because of something you guys are perceiving to be a problem. It won't be because of any of the negative headlines of the positive things he's done. It's just because he feels he's had it. Maybe that's it."

Jones also tested positive for cocaine in an out-of-competition drug test in December. In 2012, he was arrested on DWI charges.

The manager, who has represented Jones for six years, said he is "50-50" on whether "Bones" will come back. There are some days he thinks he will and some he thinks Jones won't, Kawa said.

Either way, Kawa said he would still consider Jones the best even if he's had his final UFC fight. Jones (21-1) has never properly been defeated in the Octagon (his lone loss was a controversial disqualification) and defended the title eight straight times, a light heavyweight record.

"He'll still go down as the greatest of all time and no one is gonna convince me otherwise," Kawa said. "No other fighter has done what he's been able to do. And I don't think anyone has been able to impact the sport the way he has. The reality is you can try to bring him down any way you want, you can say the things he's done, things he didn't do -- whatever. But I really do believe at the end of the day, he's the greatest of all time inside the Octagon. No one can take that away from him."

Cormier has a chance to win the light heavyweight title later this month. Jones has had a long rivalry with Cormier, but Kawa said even if Cormier takes the belt it won't necessarily play into Jones' decision to return.

"If Jon Jones comes back to the sport of MMA, it's gonna happen because he wants to," Kawa said. "Not because of Daniel Cormier. Not because of me. Not because of anybody. It's gonna be because he wants to come back. That's all I gotta say about that."

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