Should Jon Jones inherit the UFC light heavyweight title this weekend by defeating champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, he will have to make his first title defense against teammate and friend Rashad Evans, as UFC president Dana White recently revealed to the crew at ESPN MMA Live.
“Well, we gotta see what happens here. We gotta see who comes out of this fight, whether they come out unscathed and if the guys are ready to roll again with no injuries – yeah, Rashad is definitely next in line,” White said.
The situation between Jones and Evans has gotten as much, if not more, press than “Bones'” upcoming title shot. When Jones first stepped in against Rua in an injured Evans’ stead, the two were staunchly opposed to facing one another, with Evans even going so far as offering to change weight classes if Jones were to win the belt.
A few interviews later and suddenly Jones is open to fighting Evans, who feels disrespected by that revelation. Now, both fighters are sporting chips on their shoulders in regards to the whole situation and the tension between threatens to forever alter the landscape at Jackson’s MMA, where both men frequently train.
Evans has asserted that he will permanently cut ties with the Jackson camp should he and Jones agree to fight each other, and Greg Jackson has said that he won’t corner either fighter if that fight materializes.
With White’s declaration that Evans will be facing the winner of Rua-Jones, we’ll find out Saturday night whether or not there will be a round of tense/awkward conversations at the Jackson camp on Sunday morning.