The fact that Jon Jones could possibly become UFC light heavyweight champion this weekend and would subsequently be in the position of having to face his teammate/mentor Rashad Evans (whose training injury paved the way for Jones’ title shot) in his first title defense has been the source of much drama and threatens to split the Greg Jackson/Grudge MMA alliance down the middle.
One person who has remained mostly silent on the situation has been coach extraordinaire Greg Jackson, who finally weighed in on the situation recently during an appearance on the Sherdog Radio Network’s Beatdown show.
“It was for all of us – even for Jon – it’s kind of a bittersweet thing,” Jackson said of Evans’ forced injury withdrawal. “We all felt Rashad had earned the title shot, was waiting on the title shot. It was just really bad luck.”
Jackson refuted UFC president Dana White’s recent assertion that Jones and Evans’ friendship has been overblown, that they haven’t known each other long enough to have formed a truly brotherly bond.
“They work together every day,” Jackson said. “That’s the kind of guys they are. They’re buddies. They call each other all the time. They’re really, really good friends.”
At one point, Evans indicated a willingness to change weight classes should Jones win the belt; he has since rescinded that offer, but Jackson said that he is willing to coach Evans no matter what weight class he occupies.
“If Rashad wants to go to 185, I’ll hold the bucket for him,” Jackson said. “If he wants to go to 290, I’ll hold the bucket for him. Wherever he wants to go, I’m there.”
Evans has drawn a line in the sand in regards to his involvement with Jackson’s MMA should a bout against Jones materialize, saying that he will cut ties permanently with the camp if he and Jones must fight one another. Depending on how things go down this Saturday night at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey – and whether or not Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, the most overlooked party involved in the situation, has his way – the Jackson camp could have a very difficult decision to make on Sunday morning.