UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones is about as patient a 24-year old as you’re likely to ever come across. Not one to fly off the handle emotionally or go looking for trouble, Jones has sat back and absorbed criticism from all angles while only firing back in minimal bursts if that.
However, one thing Jones is sick of hearing about pertains to the perception upcoming opponent Rashad Evans has an advantage against him based on the time they spent together training under the tutelage of Greg Jackson.
“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,” said Jones in an interview with the UFC promoting their match-up at UFC 145. “I’m a much different fighter than the one he trained with. I hope he is ready to see and feel that difference.”
Evans is not the only one who thinks he has Jones’ number, as scores of fans have followed suit by pointing at “Sugar” ‘Shad as the man to stop the title-holder’s rapid ascension into the history books. Still, that doesn’t bother Jones who has dealt with similar circumstances before and come out triumphant.
“I have been able to prove many of my doubters wrong over the course of the last twelve months. Some said I couldn’t submit a legend, and I did that,” replied Jones to the notion, alluding to his submission win over Quinton Jackson. “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. They are wrong.”
The world will find out the answer to the question of superiority between Jones-Evans on April 21 from Atlanta. Jones is 14-1 in his career with a disqualification loss stemming from a bout he had essentially won prior to delivering an illegal elbow. Among his wins are instances of success against Jackson, Lyoto Machida, and Mauricio Rua. Comparably, Evans is 17-1-1 with past victories over Jackson, Phil Davis, Chuck Liddell, and Forrest Griffin.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC
MMATraining Take: Likewise, hopefully Jones knows Evans is not the same fighter he knew from Jackson’s either. It will definitely be interesting to see if Evans can do what others haven’t in terms of really putting Jones in trouble or controlling the action against him. Machida started out strong but ended up getting choked unconscious within minutes of his early brilliance. Given the size/strength difference along with Evans’ love of the takedown I could see the same scenario unfolding again, standing Guillotine and all.