Light heavyweight champ Jon Jones had one of the best seats in the house this weekend while watching Rashad Evans outpoint Phil Davis at UFC on FOX 2 to solidify an April shot at winning Jones’ belt. However, at least based on what he saw in the five-round bout, Jones doesn’t seem too intimidated by the challenge he’ll face in the former title-holder.
“Bones” spoke some about the impression Evans’ showing left on him where he noted a distinct lack of improvement and expressed his hope that the two of them fighting will finally settle their personal score.
“I think that’s going to be the biggest difference in the fight, is my youth, my ambition, my drive, my creativity,” Jones explained in an interview with The MMA Hour. “Rashad’s been fighting for, I don’t know, maybe eight years. Many of the years, he trained with the coaches that are coaching me to beat him. I definitely didn’t see any progressions. I feel like he’s coming down the other side of the hill. Even his body looked softer.”
However, Jones made it clear he doesn’t just have hard feelings towards Evans, mentioning the admiration he had for them while working together as teammates at Greg Jackson’s gym.
“I’d love to have a respectful relationship with him, because actually, deep down, I kind of just liked hanging with the guy,” said Jones on the topic of Evans. “He was cool. We had good times. We did a lot of cool stuff together and it sucked that competition came between our friendship. After this fight, I just hope that the respect can be restored. Friendship is not necessary, but the respect should be restored.”
Evans-Jones are set to face off on April 21 at UFC 145 in Atlanta.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC
MMATraining Take: I’m a bit surprised to hear Jones talk about missing the relationship he used to have with Evans when I was under the impression they weren’t very close, at least to the point anything more than a professional relationship would have been fractured.