This is the hottest feud in the MMA world today.
Current UFC light heavyweight champ Jon "Bones" Jones is coming off the most remarkable year in the history of the sport. In January 2011, Jones was viewed as an up-and-coming guy and a little more than a year later, Jones is thought of by most as unbeatable.
A meteoric rise might be a bit overused at this point, but either way Jones has taken the UFC light heavyweight division and put it in his fireproof safe that he keeps in his office. Lyoto Machida is the only man in the UFC to win a round over Jones and he was then promptly Superman-punched in the face and choked into a deep slumber.
Jones has already said he wants to fight four times this year, as he did the previous one. If that is true, he plans on walking through Rashad Evans and at least two other top contenders inside of this calender year. Not much to say there but "wow!"
Rashad Evans is the former UFC light heavyweight champion. He won the title at UFC 92 in December 2008 by knocking out then-champion Forrest Griffin. He was knocked silly in a bout with Lyoto Machida, and in the ensuing three years he has fought only four times.
There are several factors that have led to Evans' inactivity. Suga was forced to wait to fight Quinton "Rampage" Jackson when Jackson decided he would rather make a movie than fulfill his obligation to the UFC. Evans then chose to wait for a title shot as Mauricio "Shogun" Rua recovered from knee surgery following his UFC 113 title win over Machida. While waiting for Shogun to recover, he suffered his own knee injury and was forced to withdraw.
So, the story ends there, right? I mean, surely Evans' 2011 would get easier. Nope. Evans was then passed up by former teammate Jones who destroyed Shogun and won the championship. And to round out 2011, Evans was forced to wait for his grudge match with Jones because of a strange situation with Jones' hand.
After beating late-replacement Tito Ortiz last fall and Phil Davis this January, Evans now will finally get his second crack at the title and his first chance to back up all of the talking that he and Jones have been engaged in over the last year.
For those of you that have not, for whatever reason, heard about their feud, here is a very brief synopsis:
Jon Jones and Rashad Evans used to be training partners at Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA in New Mexico. In an interview, Jones basically said that if he were asked by his bosses, Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta, to fight Evans, he would do it keep his job. Evans got upset by this and kinda lost it. Jones stepped in for an injured Evans and won the title. Evans felt disrespected, left the New Mexico training center for greener pastures, and they have hated each other ever since.
After Jones pulled out of their proposed fight late last summer, Evans stepped up the trash-talk and with wins over Tito Ortiz and Phil Davis and he now gets his shot at Bones Jones.
In the upcoming slides I will break down the aspects of this fight that I see making the biggest difference.