UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has a supreme confidence that he will not only be the best 205-pound fighter for many years to come, but that it is truly his destiny to stay on top.
As he approaches the biggest fight of his young career, it’s hard to believe that this time two years ago Jones was just getting ready for his bout against Brandon Vera.
Fast forward 24 months and Jones has not only won the UFC light heavyweight title, but he’s defended it two times since then, finishing off two former champions in Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Lyoto Machida.
Jones knows he is the top fighter in the light heavyweight division, but his long-term goals are to be considered one of the best to ever step foot in the Octagon.
With the current path he’s on, it’s not a far stretch to say he’ll reach that goal one day.
“It is one of my goals to be considered among the greats in UFC history,” Jones said recently. “I feel it is my time and my destiny to be the light heavyweight champion in the UFC. Winning this fight, and defeating a fourth former champion in a row, would keep me on pace to achieving that goal.”
The fourth champion Jones will have to go through is former teammate and training partner Rashad Evans.
The war of words between Jones and Evans has escalated ever since the latter got injured prior to his UFC light heavyweight title fight against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 128 in March 2011.
Jones was offered the title shot instead and ended up dismantling the Brazilian, finishing him in the third round. Soon after, the promises of never fighting a teammate faded away, and the once close friends were now bitter enemies.
Evans has stated on multiple occasions that he knows Jones inside and out because he worked with him on a daily basis when they were training together at Greg Jackson’s facility in New Mexico. The UFC’s light heavyweight champion says he’s picked up more than a few tricks since Evans saw him last, and he’ll find out about them on April 21 in Atlanta.
“My opponent and I have a storied history that has been well-documented. He thinks he knows everything I bring to the table, but a lot has changed since he left the gym a year ago. I’m a much different fighter than the one he trained with. I hope he is ready to see and feel that difference,” said Jones.
While there don’t appear to be many doubters of Jones heading into this title defense, outside of Evans, he still aims to prove those who would question his championship pedigree wrong.
“I have been able to prove many of my doubters wrong over the course of the last 12 months. Some said I couldn’t submit a legend, and I did that. Some said I couldn’t take a punch, and I did that. Now some are saying that I will have trouble against someone who knows me so well,” Jones stated.
“They are wrong. Wait until they see what I do on April 21.”
Jones meets Evans in one of the most highly anticipated main events in UFC history at UFC 145 in Atlanta on April 21.