UFC 145: Evans vs Jones Preview
After months of yapping, promoting and resurfacing past feelings, former UFC title-holder, “Suga” Rashad Evans and reigning 205-pound king Jon “Bones” Jones step into the cage with a score to settle.
With just hours away from the biggest grudge match in UFC history, it’s safe to say that the promotion has done absolutely everything in its power to exploit the friends-turned-enemies underlining subplot this matchup carries with it.
But who’s the real fake here? Is it Jones or Evans? Or perhaps it’s neither. Maybe the biggest phony in this entire story is none other than Greg Jackson himself!
“For Greg to sit back and say he doesn’t want to have anything to do with it… why not? You [expletive] created the situation,” says Evans. “Be his coach and be in his corner. That’s what you want so do it. I don’t care if coaches against me. It doesn’t even matter.”
Suga was the big dog at Jackson’s MMA while Bones was a young up-and-comer when they met. When Jackson presented the idea of brining in Jones to train with the team, Evans had a feeling it wouldn’t end well for anyone, especially considering they both fought at the same weight class.
Was this the first and perhaps biggest mistakes made by Jackson?
“When Jon Jones came to the gym over a year ago Greg Jackson came to me and said, ‘listen, what do you feel about having this kid on the team?’ I told him straight up that I didn’t like it,” Evans recalled. “Greg came back saying, ‘No, no, no this will be just like you and Keith [Jardine] where he will be just like a brother… I still told him that I didn’t want to do that.”
Evans claims his coach gave him his word that everything would be fine, and that their friendship was stronger than anything that could be thrown their way. So, was Jackson’s second mistake leading Evans on and making him believe that he was his guy until the end?
“Greg said if that situation ever did arise between Jones and I, he would have to turn down the fight with me so that way I wouldn’t be put in a position where I looked like a punk,” Evans continued. “[But] Greg was so high on this kid coming in and I met Jon Jones and he was a very nice and very sweet kid, so eventually I said f*** it, let’ s bring him in.
“Jon and I were clicking on another level … It was starting to get to the point where it was like what Keith and I have where we feel like brothers. I really felt that our friendship was on another level… but that wasn’t the case.”
As the elder, the former Michigan State Spartan took his fellow wrestler under his wing and mentored him through the beginning stages of his career. Giving him an inside look at what fighting on the big stage is like, much of Jones’ confidence and coolness under pressure come from some of the knowledge and wisdom Evans extended out to him. Although Jones now denies it, he not only looked up to Evans, who was already a star in the UFC, but he also learned a lot from him.
“We made a pact to each other that we wouldn’t let anything get involved in our friendship,” Evans recalls. “I know how he really feels. Jon always wanted to fight me. Jon never wanted to be teammates, or to be like brothers. Jon came on the team to learn the way to beat me, so he can fight me.”
“Whether we were truly friends or not… I’m gonna have to say that we weren’t,” Jones explains. Jealousy fuels Rashad and I can’t wait to put him out of his misery.”
These former training partners at Jackson’s worldly renounced MMA gym in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Jones and Evans once swore to never fight one another. Tonight, these guys will try and do to each other exactly what they did to the words they once promised: break them!