UFC 145 Conference Call: Jon Jones And Rashad Evans Show Respect And Intensity

Written by Hurtsbad MMA Analyst Jake Martin

 

Jon Jones and Rashad Evans is a rivalry unlike anything we’ve ever seen in the UFC before. Hurtsbad MMA had a front row seat on the UFC 145 conference call to hear these two light heavyweight’s give their take.

 

Roughly one week away from the title fight between Jones and Evans at UFC 145, both fighters seem cordial, confrontational and have a passion for a gym that is or was once their own.

 

No matter what they say, these two were friends and would still be friends to this day, if it wasn’t for a catastrophic breakup at Jackson’s MMA. However, Evans said today in the UFC 145 conference call that “Jon always wanted to fight me.”

 

We’ve all heard about the birth of the rivalry sparking when Jones told NBC Sports’ Ariel Helwani that he would fight his teammate Evans if UFC president made them fight. But Evans hinted at Jones saying things before that interview leading up to his fight with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua as a precursor for their destined split.

 

“Every time somebody would ask him about me, he would say, ‘listen Rashad’s not in my mind, not this, not that.’ He was just so dismissive.”

 

Jones said in the conference call that he spoke highly of Evans in that interview, but to this day they have yet to show the full interview. Whether he wanted the fight with Evans to occur or not, the damage was already done. Evans was already mentally preparing himself for a fight with his former protégé.

 

“Jon already knew what time it was, because when he called me, he already knew how I took it,” Evans said. “So if he didn’t mean it a certain way, then he wouldn’t have called me with a guilty conscience.”

 

This caused Evans to leave Jackson’s and join other members of Jackson’s MMA and American Top Team in Florida. Thus, the Blackzillians gym was created.

 

Given their new-found hatred for one another, Jones and Evans were respectful of each other for most of the conference call. Evans reminisced about the good times both fighters had like going over different moves, practicing and seeing who could get the most takedowns in a practice session.

 

But it only takes one spark to ignite the rivalry, and that spark came in the form of a question about Greg Jackson.

 

Jackson, Jones’ current coach and Evans former coach, came up when Evans talked about him bringing Jones into their camp despite Evans trying to tell him he didn’t feel good about it.

 

“I told Greg at the time, I don’t think it would be a good idea, but Greg did what he wanted to do for Greg,” Evans said. “It’s about Greg Jackson getting the coach of the year award.”

 

And that’s when Jones stepped in to defend his mentor, his coach, his friend. Jones talked about how hard Jackson worked and how he travels the world to cater to each and every fighter in the gym, but Evans didn’t want to hear it.

 

“What does that have to do with anything we’re talking about? If you’re going to jump into the conversation, you got to keep up, man,” Evans said.

 

Given the two’s history of training together, there’s been a lot of speculation regarding if Evans will have a mental advantage over Jones like no other opponent Jones has ever faced. Jones was quick to silence that opinion.

 

“I really don’t think my opponent can figure out what I’m going to throw,” Jones said. “I throw so much stuff. Greg said himself, ‘listen Jon, we could send Rashad footage of you sparring every day, and he’s not going to be able to tell which (strike) is going when, what side of the body, or high or low.’”

 

Though Jones is only 24-years old, this isn’t his first fight that’s had a lot of drama leading up to it. At UFC 135, Jones fought Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, where he was accused of spying on Jackson during his training camp, and the two exchanged in a verbal warfare.

 

“(This) kind of reminds me of the Rampage lead up,” Jones said. “There was smack-talking, controversy and drama.”

 

With that said, he’s never had a rivalry this intense in the UFC, and even though Evans had some heated rivalries with Jackson and Tito Ortiz, he said this was the most personal.

 

The two cooled down following the argument over Jackson, but then a reporter brought up a past bar incident from a year ago. Jones retold the story. He said that he remembered being at a table with a bunch of fighters, and then Evans walked up. Both Evans and Jones walked away to talk.

 

“Rashad said something like ‘hey, I heard you’ve been doing really good, and I’m really impressed with how you’re doing. But I just wanted to let you know that you’re fighting me now, and I’m going to smash you,’” Jones said.

 

Before Jones could reminisce any further, Evans interrupted saying that Jones is lying and the bickering between the two began once again.

 

As UFC 145 draws near, both fighters emotions will be tested as they cut weight and field a tremendous amount of questions next week.

 

Evans and Jones have some unsettled business to handle in the cage, and given the circumstances and personal rivalry, the fighter that handles their emotions best may walk away the victor next Saturday night.

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Tags: Jake Martin MMA, Jon Jones, Jon Jones quotes, Jon Jones vs Rashad Evans, MMA, MMA News, Rashad Evans, Rashad Evans quotes, UFC, UFC 145, More…UFC news

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