Sixty-six days out from their match-up at UFC 145 and it didn’t take long for UFC champion Jon “Bones” Jones and challenger Rashad Evans to begin their verbal sparring ahead of the actual showdown in the Octagon on April 21.
The story behind the fight is pretty simple.
Evans was a longtime member of Team Greg Jackson when a young up-and-comer by the name of Jon Jones started training at the gym. For quite some time, both fighters protested to the suggestion that they would ever fight each other.
A couple of interviews changed all that, however, and now Evans, who left the Jackson team more than a year ago, faces off with his former teammate in a fight that could easily be titled “Best Friends, Now Bitter Enemies.”
When it comes down to the pre-fight trash talk, mind games, or whatever you want to call it, Jones isn’t buying into it. He’s solely focused on defending his title because he believes it’s his destiny to do so.
“I just have a really strong conviction, and I think conviction’s stronger than belief. I’m convinced that it’s my time just to be here and to be champion for years to come. When you’re a believer there’s really no reason to speak about it,” Jones said on Thursday.
Rashad Evans had a quick rebuttal. He pointed to a line of past champions like Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Lyoto Machida, and others that also believed they were destined to be on top for years to come.
“See, that’s one thing that Jon doesn’t understand. There’s no such thing as ‘time.’ There’s been so many people like him that’s always been ‘the one.’ That’s the secret, there is no ‘one.’ Anybody can lose, any given day, and he’s going to find that out,” Evans stated.
The reason that Evans has such a strong belief in his ability to take out Jones is because he does know him so well. From many hours spent in the training room together, Evans says he won’t approach the fight with Jones like so many in the past have done and failed.
He will come after the UFC light heavyweight champion and there is no fear of the unknown because he knows what to expect from Jones.
“I’ve got big advantages knowing what he’s going to do, just knowing the range, where I need to fight him at. Just training with him and knowing what he’s good at, where he likes to fight. I already know what I need to do,” said Evans. “I’m not going to get in there and get frozen watching all the beautiful stuff he throws. I’m going to get in there and just mix it up.”
Evans’ promise to Jones was pretty straight forward.
“This fight won’t go five rounds,” said Evans.
Jones didn’t seem to disagree with him too much either.
“Mark his words,” Jones retorted.
Just over two months separates the rivals from finally settling the score inside the Octagon. Surely between now and then there will be more than a few more sound bites to go through as Jones and Evans head for Atlanta.