When Jon Jones defends his light-heavyweight title against Rashad Evans, one thing is for sure: it will be an epic MMA matchup. Fueled by the scars of a dead friendship, these two fighters have absolutely nothing but disdain for one another, which is of course what we all want in a good Saturday night fight.
Both of these fighters are at the top of their profession, and both believe that the other is a jerk. Evans has basically stated that Jones is a traitor, while Jones apparently believes that Evans is just jealous that he missed his own title shot.
These two fighters have a long, storied history. Good friends in the beginning, they trained in the same gym and at one point said that they wouldn’t fight one another. Jones was an up-and-comer who trained with Evans, a big-time contender, under Greg Jackson.
When Evans suffered a knee injury that ended his current title bid, Jones was offered the opportunity of a lifetime at a title shot. After being badgered by the media for months, Jones stated on national television that he would fight Evans if that was what was wanted. Evans felt betrayed and disrespected, and the feud really began from there.
From that point, a bout between the two has been inevitable. For an entire year, they’ve been hurling insults at each other, playing a psychological war that is in keeping with the tradition of all fighting sports. This significant buildup is reaching the breaking point now, right before the fight.
Who wins this bout?
At the weigh-in on Friday, the crowd jeered the defending champion Jones and showed much more support for Evans, according to USA Today. This is rare, as Evans tends to be the less-liked fighter in general among most audiences. The fact that Jones was the only fighter on the UFC 145 card that was significantly booed at the weigh-in is just another reason why this fight will be so interesting to watch.
Another interesting aspect of this matchup is the familiarity each fighter has with the other. Having trained together, each fighter has a pretty good understanding of exactly what the other can and will do. That will make it an even better fight for us to watch, as each fighter will have to be creative in dealing with his opponent's strategies.
As far as their physical skills go, the difference in the two fighters’ styles will also make this one worth watching. Evans is the more powerful fighter and has a clear advantage in the wrestling aspect of the fight. Jones’ reach gives him the striking advantage.
This fight was inevitable. Two former friends turned bitter enemies who just happen to be the two best light-heavyweights in the world? No way that bout wasn’t going to happen.
Tonight, when it does happen, it will be worth all the buildup it has put us through.