UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Rashad Evans will settle their long-burning rivalry this April when they meet in the main event of UFC 145.
The two top-tier 205ers had a falling out when Jones stepped up for an injured Evans to challenge for the title and said in an interview that he’d be willing to defend it against Rashad, breaking protocol at Jackson’s. This led to a gradual escalation that ended up with Evans forever severing ties with the Greg Jackson camp and a heap of vitriol being spewed back and forth between the two fighters.
Jackson said then that he couldn’t and wouldn’t corner Jones against Evans and it looks like, despite the bad blood that still exists, he’s keeping his word.
“I don’t expect him to be in my corner,” Jones said of Jackson at the UFC 145 pre-fight presser. “I was just saying recently in an interview, Greg has taught me this whole thing about being an artist, being great artist. He said, ‘In order to be a great artist, you need a great coach and a great teacher. You need someone who’s always giving you new paint and new paintbrushes.’ And that’s what he’ll do leading up to this fight. He’s gonna give me lots of new tactics, lots of new ways of thinking and approaching the sport and then I’m going to have the canvas on April 21st to paint a new masterpiece.”
Emotions are expected to run hot between Jones and Evans, probably hotter than they ever have, but Jones maintains that he won’t be afraid to let Evans get under his skin and dominate his thoughts, that he actually prefers things that way.
“Well, I think my emotions will be more in effect leading up to the fight. I realize this is a fight that I cannot lose. So, my emotions will make me train harder, make me study harder, make me focus on every little thing that I need to focus on,” he said. “I think that my opponent will be in my head this fight and I want him in my head because I realize that when people are in my head it brings out the best in me and that’s what I’m prepared to show.”
UFC 145: Jones vs. Evans goes down on April 21 from the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.