Thursday, April 19, 2012

UFC 145: Jon Jones feels working with Rashad Evans' former coaches almost unfair into Title bout

By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

Rashad Evans doesn't have many good things to say about the Greg Jackson-Mike Winkeljohn camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico, these days. His former longtime home is now the enemy, with UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones reaping the benefits of a team and a camp Evans maintains he helped build.

But Jones clearly doesn't see things that way, and in an interview this week with, Jones went after Evans as not quite the teammate he makes himself out to be.

"There were people at Greg Jackson's gym that he never even said hi to," Jones said of Evans. "He's never gone to a team dinner. He never went out and said, 'Hey, let me buy these other guys a drink because I can afford it.' It was not like that. He just had [Donald] 'Cowboy' [Cerrone], and basically the guys who had money in the bank and could hang with him, dress with him, and look good standing next to him at the club. That's not a team member."

While Evans' time training with Jones has had him telling anyone who will listen that he's got Jones' number, the young Champion sees things in a completely different light. In fact, because he's training with the team that helped bring Evans into prominence in the UFC, Jones maintains that it's he who has the edge in that department, in a big way.

"I have the coaches that taught him how to fight," said Jones. "They taught him the guard passes he uses, the ground-and-pound system that he uses, the punches that he used to throw and the combinations. I mean, it almost seems not fair sometimes."

"He always talks down about Greg Jackson now and he always talks crap about our team, by saying our team was just commercial and we're overrated. But all those insults have really made it almost personal for our coaches. We know his psychology. We know what makes him tired. We know everything about him. He's in trouble."

Additionally, while Evans points to the successes he had against Jones in training, Jones says he's got the same types of things that he can point to as well.

"What people don't realize is, Rashad says, 'I trained with Jon and I have his number.' But that's a crazy thing for him to say, because I trained with him, and one thing all my fans know is that I'm not just a good fighter, I'm also a smart fighter. If he truly believes that I don't remember every training practice we ever had, what I landed and what I did well against him, he surely must remember that. He should be nervous. I've done great against fighters I've never trained with before. I mean, I fought [Lyoto] Machida when I'd never fought a karate fighter before, and I beat him in a karate match. So Rashad thinking that the time we spent together wasn't extremely beneficial to me, I think he's crazy."

"I look at Rashad as someone who wants to embarrass me on national television. That alone inspires me to get my butt up early in the morning and late at night and train harder than him. Because who wants to get knocked out and have that on everyone's DVR? I don't."

Penick's Analysis: There are a lot of layers to this feud heading into Saturday night's UFC 145 event, and both fighters are holding a lot of ill will towards the other. Jones has tried not to let it hit the surface too much, but even though he's put forth the facade of being unfazed by Evans, it's clearly eating at him a bit. It spills out in comments like he makes on the subject of his team. Evans attacking his coaches and the team he's a part of is absolutely on Jones' mind, and Jones absolutely does not want Evans to be the one to end his run on top. The final wave of hype is hitting this week, and Jones and Evans will finally get to settle things in the cage on Saturday night.

[Jon Jones art by Grant Gould (c)]


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