Though Jon Jones has never been one to hide his feelings in regards to Rashad Evans, rarely has he offered direct criticism of his former teammate despite the same respect not being shown to him in return. However, now that their rivalry has evolved from a simmer to a boil over the past few months, the current 205-pound champion appears to be opening up more and, as a result, recently took a few shots of his own at “Sugar” ‘Shad.
In a conversation earlier this week relating to how Jones’ upcoming fight against Lyoto Machida came about, the 24-year old explained he was actually offered the bout against Evans per Evans’ request and accepted before learning the Ultimate Fighter 2 winner wouldn’t be ready on December 10 as necessary.
“Dana White basically needed someone to save UFC 140,” Jones explained in a conversation with MMAFighting before implying Evans had actually been hoping Jones would decline the match-up based on the short notice involved. “I didn’t necessarily want to fight at 140, but because it was Rashad, I said, ‘You know what? I would take the fight in nine weeks.’ I’m already in shape. I already know what I want to do. Rashad, predicting that I would say no, he kind of kicked himself in the butt because I said yes…he turns around and says, ‘Oh, I didn’t expect Jon to say yes. I don’t want to fight him that soon.’ So in reality, he’s kind of the one who’s ducking the fight. I feel like he’s ducking the fight.”
“He tried to call me out on nine weeks’ notice,” Jones continued. “Obviously, who wants to fight on nine weeks’ notice? I just got a new car (and) I want to drive that around. I want to hang out with my family and relax and sleep in my own bed for once. And now Rashad calls me out, predicting that I would say no, to make me look like I was ducking him again, and I say yes, and now he says, ‘Oh, I didn’t know he would say yes. I don’t want to fight him.’ He called Dana White, asked for 140, Dana White called me and said Rashad wants this fight. I gave him the fight he wanted and then he pulled out.”
“Rashad is just a small part of my being right now. I don’t really think about Rashad that much. But it annoys me,” said “Bones” while elaborating on the situation. “The reason why I took the fight on nine weeks’ notice is because I wanted it to be over. Like I said, Rashad is the biggest antagonist of my career. He’s the biggest hater. He has so much envy. I don’t write him, he writes me. He harasses me pretty much. He is so envious and so jealous and it’s so obvious, he doesn’t even try to hide it. And after I beat him, he’s going to hate me even more.”
As far as whether or not he feels Evans should maintain his status in division as #2 or have to prove himself in the Octagon again before getting a crack at the championship, Jones was frank in his assessment of the situation while citing a fairly logical argument.
“Obviously, I want to fight him. But how long are you going to get to wait and sit around? You go from not fighting for a whole year, and then you get a fight like Tito Ortiz, which everybody knows where Tito is at in his career, and now he just gets to sit around and be the #1 contender again,” Jones questioned. “It looks like he’s the one that’s sitting on his glory and riding his glory. There (are) tons of guys out there. I think when he gets better he should have to fight Phil Davis or Dan Henderson. How does he get the right to just sit around and say who he is going to fight and when he is going to fight and continue to be the (top) contender while everybody else fights all year long?”
Though the champ may be facing “The Dragon” in Machida at UFC 140, Jones’ statements on Evans seem to show he will be the one ready to spit fire if necessary.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC
MMATraining Take: It baffles me as to why the UFC couldn’t just wait three weeks and have Jones/Evans fight alongside Brock Lesnar/Alistair Overeem on the company’s annual New Year’s Eve Weekend extravaganza. How much saving does a card really need when it already has Frank Mir vs. “Minotauro” Nogueira and Ortiz vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, as well as a number of popular Canadians on board, ready to please the Toronto crowd? Definitely a subject for a future “Opening Round”.