UFC 145: What a Win over Rashad Evans Would Mean to Jon Jones' Legacy

Andrew SaundersCorrespondent IIApril 21, 2012

In a recent interview on "UFC Counterpunch," Rashad Evans commented that Jon Jones may be holding the belt, but isn't the champion. Why not? Because Jones has never defeated his former friend and teammate.

With arguably the best year in MMA history behind him, it would be a farce to suggest that Jones isn't the real champion. However, the young light heavyweight still has a lot to gain if he can defeat "Suga."

Jones has the tools to be known as the greatest light heavyweight of all time. The path to that notoriety leads him to Rashad Evans at UFC 145 in Atlanta, GA. To get a better look at Jones' legacy, let's rewind to January of 2011 and take a peak at the light heavyweight rankings

  1. Shogun Rua
  2. Rashad Evans
  3. Rampage Jackson
  4. Lyoto Machida
  5. Jon Jones
  6. Rich Franklin
  7. Thiago Silva
  8. Ryan Bader
  9. Matt Hamill
  10. Randy Couture

Look at the names on this list who Jones hasn't defeated. Randy Couture has retired, Rich Franklin has left the division, and Silva has fallen out of contention. If Jones finds himself victorious versus Evans, he will have cleaned out the top 10 as of 15 months ago.

Not only were these fighters highly ranked one year ago, but Evans, Rampage, Machida and Shogun have all been ranked in the top 5 since late 2009. The men that Jon Jones has put to sleep have been considered the absolute best of the light heavyweight division for years.

With Rashad and Dan Henderson being the only notables not currently on his resume, a win for Jon Jones is a huge step toward cleaning out a stacked division and cementing his legacy as the greatest light heavyweight of all time.