Since Jon Jones entered the UFC his stature in the sport has rested somewhere between the Golden Child and the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Jones has systematically taken down all challengers in front of him, for the most part, with relative ease.
At UFC 145, Jones hopes to add another patch to his quickly filling UFC letterman jacket. After defeating Rampage Jackson, and Lyoto Machida, Jones is looking to pummel Rashad Evans and collectively retire all three from title contention for good at UFC 145 in Atlanta.
“He’s the one who is going through this whirlwind in life and I just can’t wait to put him out of his misery and solidify me being the light heavyweight champion, telling him to go have a seat somewhere,” Jones said.
Evans believes his experience inside the Octagon will weigh heavily in determining the outcome of their match. The former champion is confident that he can take advantage of Jones between the ears as well.
“I’ve got the advantage mentally, too. He’s not ‘Jon Jones unbeatable champion’ to me. I know the real Jon, the nervous kid who would ask me to tell him how to dress, how to talk and how to fight,” Evans said.
“I know how he reacts when things don’t go his way, how he can’t handle it mentally, And I’ve been through these types of pressure fights,” he said.
“I’ve been in these situations where emotions are involved with my fights with guys like Michael Bisping and ‘Rampage’ Quinton Jackson. Jon has never been in this type of situation and he’s never faced a fighter like me. I know I will get my title back at UFC 145.”
Jones and Evans are both supremely confident that the light heavyweight belt will be around their waist following their impending match. They cannot both be right.
This pair of star-crossed fighters were once great friends. That is the strange part of this story, though it clearly drives the narrative. At one point the duo had a mutual agreement not to fight each other.
Money and fame will often-times be selected in lieu of friendly connections and understandably so, given the volatile nature of combat sports. One injury can ruin a career. These fighters are putting their bodies on the line daily, so there will not be a single critical word from me regarding a fighter’s ambition or his pursuit thereof.
So it is not surprising that the parties split because as P. Diddy once said, Mo money, Mo problems.
They were training partners in Greg Jackson’s training camp.
Evans believes the outcomes of these training sessions give him insight into Jones’s technique and an advantage in the fight, Jones disagrees.
“He’s talking about a fighter that in training in 2010 he used to beat. In 2011, I wasn’t the same fighter and I was starting to beat him. And with that same work ethic in 2012, you’re going to see I’m not that same kid he held down in practice,” Jones said.
“I love that he talks so much crap because the more crap he talks, the sillier he’s going to look when he loses that fight,” Jones said.
Two distinct storylines may unfold.
Either the burgeoning young superstar will retain his title and continue his course to be mentioned in the same breath as Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre, or Evans will regain his title and humble the young man.
Both outcomes are compelling fodder.