When Rashad Evans faced Jon Jones earlier this year, it was the culmination of one of the most heated rivalries in UFC history finally coming to a head.
The fight ended with Jones winning by unanimous decision, but now Evans is getting a second shot at his old training partner, except this time he’ll be on the outside of the Octagon when it happens.
Evans has been serving as the head coach for Vitor Belfort as he gets ready for his upcoming UFC 152 fight against Jones. There may not be anybody that better knows the UFC light heavyweight champion and his tendencies than his former friend and teammate.
“I probably know a lot more about Jon Jones than most people and have such insight, so Vitor asked me to be his righthand man in preparation for the fight,” Evans told MMAWeekly.com.
Evans has been working alongside Belfort for several weeks and believes that, despite the odds that have him as a huge underdog, this is his chance to shock the world and beat Jon Jones.
“I think it’s a huge mistake to consider him an underdog because this is an MMA fight,” said Evans. “You’ve seen some of the most dramatic finishes and upsets in this sport. It only takes a second. Anyone at this elite level, no matter what your rank, has a chance to beat someone. It may be your night; it may not be your night.”
Throughout his storied career, Belfort has faced some of the toughest competition, even in different generations of fighters walking through the UFC cage doors. From his early days in the old-style UFC tournaments to his march towards a UFC middleweight title shot, Belfort has seen and done it all.
Evans has no doubt that when he walks into the Octagon with Jon Jones that Vitor Belfort can not only walk out the winner, he can also be the first ever fighter to knock out the incumbent UFC light heavyweight champion.
“I definitely think Vitor can knock him out. Vitor has probably the fastest hands I’ve seen in MMA, and besides that, he has the power behind it too. If you look at all his experience, he’s been doing this since Jon Jones was like in the third grade. He has been doing this a long time,” Evans commented.
Evans has embraced his role as coach over the last several weeks as he’s gotten Belfort ready for his showdown with Jones. Undoubtedly, Evans would love to be the one fighting Jones in Toronto, but he knows their time will come again, but right now it’s all about Vitor Belfort.
“I’m positive we will fight again at 205, maybe in a year or so, but we’ll fight again,” Evans said about a rematch with Jones.
As far as the eventual confrontation Evans and Jones will likely have next week in Toronto, the former champion isn’t angry or upset with his former teammate anymore.
Evans will even compliment Jones, which is a far cry from some of the words the two spewed about one another just a few short months ago.
“If he needed to talk about some things, I would talk to him. Once all of this is out of the way. Jon’s not a bad kid,” Evans said. “He has a good spirit inside of him, but I’m not going to share any secrets with him before the fight.”
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