If you ask Rashad Evans what he does for a living, he might say UFC fighter; he might say he’s a coach or trainer, and he might say he’s a pretty good TV analyst as well.
Heading into his UFC 145 bout against former friend Jon Jones, Evans might want to add psychological profiler to his list of accolades.
Evans has long discussed his inside knowledge about the UFC’s current light heavyweight champion after they trained together under the tutelage of coaches Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn while in the same New Mexico gym.
According to Evans, it goes much deeper than just knowing Jones’ movement inside the cage, how he goes for takedowns, or footwork when boxing.
Evans says he knows what Jones is really like outside the cage and that will prove to be vital information come time for them to face off at UFC 145.
“I know the real Jon, the nervous kid who would ask me to tell him how to dress, how to talk, and how to fight. I know how he reacts when things don’t go his way, how he can’t handle it mentally,” Evans said recently.
“And I’ve been through these types of pressure fights. I’ve been in these situations where emotions are involved with my fights with guys like (Michael) Bisping and Rampage (Jackson). Jon has never been in this type of situation and he’s never faced a fighter like me. I know I will get my title back at UFC 145.”
Ever since the split from Jackson’s camp, Evans has been working alongside his new teammates at the Florida based Blackzilians team, but he believes that despite Jones’ best claims of learning new tricks, he knows exactly what coaches Jackson and Winkeljohn are doing.
He knows it so well, Evans says he could probably tell you what they’re doing in camp right now.
“I know all about him, all about his coaches, and all about his camp. I could probably tell you what he’s doing in the gym right now,” said Evans. “He’s in the exact same environment doing the exact same things with the exact same people. But I’m in a different environment, I knew I had to learn, had to mix things up, and I had to change. Jon has no idea what I will do on the night.”
There’s no doubt that Evans does have inside knowledge about the camp at Jackson’s MMA. Evans joined the team just after his run on the Ultimate Fighter Season 2 back in 2005, and worked there until their split in 2011.
He believes between the routine he knows at Jackson’s coupled with how well he believes he has picked up on Jones’ instincts and abilities, Evans is more than confident in victory at UFC 145.
Evans even knows exactly how he’ll do it.
“He can talk about improvements he’s made, but there are still some things in his game he can never change. He’s a long, rangy fighter and I’m going to get inside, unleash my stuff, take him down and ground and pound him,” said Evans.
“I’m at a level in my career where I can take down and ground and pound anyone.”
Jon Jones may be sitting on top of the world right now, and he may believe it’s his destiny to be the greatest champion in UFC history, but there’s one person that’s not buying it.
At one time, Rashad Evans was an unbeaten fighter as well, and he felt the sting of defeat and it humbled him. Now he’s looking to humble Jon Jones.
“He’s not Jon Jones ‘unbeatable champion’ to me,” Evans said in closing. “I know I will beat Jon Jones.”