While Jon Jones has brought as a lot of attention to the mixed martial arts world with his dynamic and flashy style, he has also created discension in the infamous Greg Jackson training camp.
Rashad Evans was one of the originals of the famed team, having began training there several years ago after his underdog performance on the second season of “The Ultimate Fighter” where he became the winner of the heavyweight field.
After paring down to the light-heavyweight class, he became the champion of his division, and though he lost the crown soon thereafter, he worked his way back at a shot at the title. However now, Evans will be facing his former teammate in Jones, who has since made permanent residence with the Jackson team, causing Rashad to sever ties with his friends.
Mike Winkeljohn, one of the head instructors and co-owner of the Jackson training facilities, wishes the whole situation could have been averted, and partly blames UFC champ Jon Jones.
Those who are unfamiliar with Winkeljohn, you can look to a bevy of Rashad Evans’ highlight reel and call them the courtesy of the striking coach. From the headkick knockout of Sean Salmon to the blistering right-hand KO of Chuck Liddell, Winkeljohn has been a longtime supporter of the former champion.
While Jones has been anything but grateful of the whole Greg Jackson camp, Mike now partly regrets the decision to allow Jon on the team.
In an early interview, Jones hinted that should both him and Rashad have to meet in the ring, despite having come from the same team, that he would unwillingly do so. Evans, never one to back down from a challenge, took Jones to his word and now both men will be meeting in the cage in the foreseeable future. Evans, feeling like the GJ team has turned their back on him, has left the camp and is currently training with the likes of Antonio Silva, Jorge Santiago, and “JZ” Cavalcante.
“A lot of us are to blame,” said Winkeljohn of the split, who spoke with MMAFighting.com on the matter.
“I think it’s an unfortunate series of events that’s going to happen more and more. Everybody wants a title. Bringing Jon Jones in, you know, if we would have known ahead of time that this would happen, we might not have brought him in. I don’t know, it’s tough. But I don’t know if that’s why Rashad left, or if it was because he didn’t trust us after he lost to Machida. Maybe it was a combination. I don’t know. I care about both guys and if there’s anybody out there who has the tools to beat Jon Jones, it’s Rashad Evans. If he uses them and he shows up mentally prepared, Jon Jones is in for a long night.”
So, MMA peeps, what do you think of Mike’s assessment of the situation? Long has the Greg Jackson team had this comradery of not wanting to fight each other, however now that Jones is the champ after his blitzkrieg of Mauricio “Shogun” Rua last weekend, Evans rightly will be challenging for the title and look to become the new title holder. Should Winkeljohn continue to train Jones or is that betrayal? Sound off in the comment section below.