For Jon Jones, whenever he finally steps inside the Octagon with Rashad Evans to defend his UFC light heavyweight title, it will definitely be personal.
Jones and Evans were once training partners under Greg Jackson in New Mexico. But, after Jones captured the 205-pound title from Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and said he was fine with meeting “Suga,” the split began. Evans called out “Bones” for being fake, Jones responded and the war of words has continued.
“He’s flapping his gums, talking to himself, to try and convince himself that he’s ready and he has this and he has that over me,” said Jones, in an interview with MMAWeekly.com this past weekend. “Rashad is saying he has my number. He knows what he can do, and he knows all this stuff. I do really good on improv. I’m excited to see what I can do with somebody I’ve went with several times before.”
Jones defended his UFC crown for the first time this past September, stopping Quinton “Rampage” Jackson via submission with a rear-naked choke. It was the second submission victory in his last two fights, as he also choked out Ryan Bader to earn the shot at Rua.
While Jones was fine with all the trash talk in the build for the Jackson bout, he feels like Evans has disrespected him to the point of hatred.
“Even on a marketing standpoint, me and ‘Rampage’ do all this selling fights and then Rashad comes in and markets himself right in the middle of my big day,” Jones said. “I don’t like you, you don’t like me, stay off my special night. Now all the Endicott (New York) kids are starting to figure, ‘Oh, who’s this Rashad Evans? It’s the guy that shows up at every Jon ‘Bones’ Jones fight.'”
Jones-Evans is expected to take place in early 2012, as the champion is recovering from minor injuries and has asked for time off to spend with his family.