Even though UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones has looked unbeatable since coming onto the scene a few years ago there’s one man who knows otherwise – Rashad Evans. A former training partner of Jones and next challenger to the 24-year old’s title, Evans will enter their headlining tilt at UFC 145 with supreme confidence based in large part on his familiarity with Jones as both a fighter and regular person.
Evans elaborated on his mindset in a recent interview with the UFC where he listed off the countless things he “knows” about the divisional king and how they’ll carry him to victory come showtime on April 21.
“I know I will beat Jon Jones,” began Evans. “He can talk about improvements he’s made, but there are still some things in his game he can never change. He’s a long, rangy fighter and I’m going to get inside, unleash my stuff, take him down and ground and pound him. I’m at a level in my career where I can take down and ground and pound anyone.”
“I know all about him, all about his coaches and all about his camp,” the animated former champion continued. “I could probably tell you what he’s doing in the gym right now. He’s in the exact same environment doing the exact same things with the exact same people. But I’m in a different environment, I knew I had to learn, had to mix things up and I had to change. Jon has no idea what I will do on the night.”
Were that not enough, Evans also pointed to his maturity and experience as being crucial aspects of why he’ll be successful in Atlanta.
“I’ve got the advantage mentally, too. He’s not ‘Jon Jones unbeatable champion’ to me. I know the real Jon, the nervous kid who would ask me to tell him how to dress, how to talk and how to fight. I know how he reacts when things don’t go his way, how he can’t handle it mentally,” said Evans before adding, “And I’ve been through these types of pressure fights. I’ve been in these situations where emotions are involved with my fights with guys like Michael Bisping and ‘Rampage’ (Quinton Jackson). Jon has never been in this type of situation and he’s never faced a fighter like me. I know I will get my title back at UFC 145.”
“Sugar” ‘Shad holds an overall record of 17-1-1 and has won his last four fights including those against Jackson, Thiago Silva, Tito Ortiz, and most recently Phil Davis. Likewise, Jones is 15-1 with the lone defeat involving an unnecessary disqualification and six straight instances of success since. If he defeats Evans it will mark his fourth consecutive victories over former title-holder.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC