Everyone knows UFC President Dana White’s opinion on teammates fighting one another. Several coaches have also weighed in on the subject.
As Jon Jones prepares for his UFC 128 title fight against champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, he can’t escape questions about an eventual fight with his friend and training partner Rashad Evans.
Even with the title fight just over a week away, Jones still finds himself answering the question about an inevitable time when he may be faced with the choice of facing Evans in the Octagon.
While Jones and Evans have both maintained in the past that they would not fight, recently it seems their stance may have softened. Even still, the young fighter from New York is tired of the questions and wants everyone to know he only has one thing on his mind right now… Maurcio “Shogun” Rua.
“I want to make clear to all the reporters, I absolutely hate when people mention Rashad Evans, especially throughout this training camp,” Jones said on Wednesday. “He’s a friend of mine, but I’m fighting Mauricio ‘Shogun,’ one of the best fighters that’s been around for a long time, and so people need don’t need to be mentioning Rashad Evans right now.”
Jones spent a lot of time with Evans as he prepared to face Rua before a knee injury befell him and forced him out of the fight. Now with Jones taking the slot, everyone seems to want to know if he wins, will he face Evans next?
Well, simply put, Jon Jones is done talking about it.
“I think it’s ludicrous. Rashad is not in my mind, he’s not in my being, he has absolutely zero to do with my heart, and who I am right now. Right now it’s me vs. Jon Jones, and right now I’m beating all the weakness out of myself, I’m beating all the give-up out of myself, I’m beating the lack of cardio, I’m beating the lack of confidence. Any sign of weakness that’s in my heart right now, I’m getting rid of it. The fact that people are bringing up Rashad Evans is ignorant,” Jones stated.
“Rashad Evans has nothing to do with Shogun, and for me right now I won’t even answer a question about Rashad.”
If Jones is victorious next Saturday night, the questions will undoubtedly come flying at him non-stop, but he’s not talking about it until UFC 128 is over.
Jones and Evans may not want to address the situation, but one of their coaches will step in and say the pair should fight if the light heavyweight title is on the line.
Trevor Wittman, who coaches at the Grudge Training Center, has worked with both Evans and Jones in the past. He’s quick to admit he believes the two training partners should square off if the belt is up for grabs.
“I’ve had the talk with Rashad. I haven’t had the talk with Greg (Jackson) yet, which I think I should, but you have a guy who’s a young guy coming into the game in Jon Jones, who came and was able to jump out there and actually take that title shot that Rashad was supposed to have cause of his knee injury. To me, I’m not going to sit there and take one guy should do what, and one guy should do what, but the thing is, I want the best not only for the fighters, I want the best for the fans,” Wittman said.
“When you’re fighting for a world title, and this is just me, Greg can think differently than me, some of the fighters on the team can think differently than me, but I am one of those guys out there that if something’s on the line, this is just business. It’s not hard feelings.”
Wittman believes the pair of teammates will eventually be faced with this very scenario, so he’s voicing his opinion that they should face each other and give the fans the fight they want to see.
“If Jon Jones goes out there and beats Shogun, I am in complete 100-percent belief that Rashad should fight Jon Jones and get that belt back. (Rashad)’s at the peak of his career and it’s only going to be a downward slide from this point out. I feel he should go out there and lay it out on the table, not only for himself, but for the fans,” Wittman said.
Only time will tell if Evans and Jones will ever face off, but the top contender in the light heavyweight title picture will not address the subject any further until his fight with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua is done next weekend.