UFC 145: Will Rashad Evans and Jon Jones Be Friends Again After Saturday?
Yesterday’s new format press conference for the UFC 145 showdown between Rashad Evans and Jon Jones was revelatory to the extent to which the fighters have softened their tone towards each other as the match draws near.
Gone was the fiery back-and-forth bickering we saw between the two only last week during their UFC Ultimate Insider face-to-face. Instead, the two former teammates were cordial, complimentary of each other and even had time to share a joke.
It is telling of the underlying catharsis of the situation as all the bad blood seems already congealed and the fighters’ ammunition of insults seem to have run out.
During the press conference, host Jon Anik asked Evans what influence he thinks he had on Jones as a fighter, to which Evans humbly replied, “Jon has grown so much in the last year, he absorbs things really fast, he’s like a sponge. It’s really hard to say. I can say that we had a good time training together and I enjoyed our time training together.”
Contrast that with earlier memories Evans shared of his time training with Jones. The times he took Jones down and held him down to pleas of mercy. The times the green fighter looked up to Evans for his insight and experience.
This softening between the two has been evident throughout the last two weeks as Evans' vitriol has turned decidedly away from Jones and towards his former coaches Greg Jackson and Mike Winklejohn. Could this mean the two will hug and make-up after their match on Saturday?
“It’s truly not personal for me,” said Jones. “There have been a lot of things that have been said that are personal. But when it comes to the actual game, it’s still a game we play. The pre-fight hype and all that has nothing to do with the game.”
Will Jon Jones and Rashad Evans be friends agains after Saturday?
Perhaps the animosity and resentment has been mostly hype. The bond the two shared during their time training is still there. At one point, Jones said that the fight will be like a last counseling session for everyone involved—for the trainers and the fighters themselves.
And the optimistic, conciliatory tone did not end there. When asked whether Rashad influenced his dress sense, Jones replied, “I think Rashad’s swagger is through the roof, guys. I mean look at the guy. That’s why I didn’t put a coat jacket on, I’m not going to try and compete with Rashad in dressing. He’s a wonderful dresser.”
Later, they even shared a joke. When Jones made a comment on how Malki Kawa, his manager, and Evans are close to the same age—both entering their prime in their mid-30s, Rashad replied, “I’m very insulted, you cannot physically compare me to Malki Kawa.”
To which Jon replied, laughing, “My bad... I was out of line.”
It was a bittersweet moment to think the two at one point held sincere affection for each other before the relationship turned sour. But whether they will become friends again, and how close they will be, depends much on the outcome of the match.
This is because it is Evans who feels betrayed, less so Jones for whom this is just another fight—just another title defence on his long road to build a lasting legacy.
For Evans, however, the fight is a statement against all those who turned their back on him. Should he lose the match, the bitterness will surely only deepen. But if he wins, we could see him walking across the cage to embrace Jackson who still says he considers Evans a friend.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?