We've got less than two weeks remaining until Jon Jones and Rashad Evans finally step in the cage at UFC 145 in Atlanta. The pair continue to fire shots at one another, building the hype for what should ultimately be one of the UFC's biggest bouts of 2012.
But it's no longer an issue strictly between Jones and Evans. As I expected, coaches Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn have been pulled into the mix after hearing Evans blast them on numerous occasions.
Winkeljohn recently told Bleacher Report that he convinced Jackson to corner Jones in the fight after Evans continually threw Jackson under the bus and blamed him for the split that led Evans to leave his longtime fight camp and head to Florida. Winkeljohn says he's still cool with Evans, but that enough was enough:
But he upset me in that he kept throwing Greg under the bus. Enough's enough. You have your disagreements, I understand that, but there's more important things out there and it's time for Greg to work in Jon's corner.
Evans told USA Today that he isn't really mad at Jackson for deciding to corner Jones. After all, it's what he expected to happen from the beginning:
I'm not surprised. Once Greg said that he was able to stay at his gym, I knew he was going to work with him. I knew he was going to corner him. And that's fine. I expected him to do that.
That's just Greg for you. I can't be mad at somebody for being himself, you know?
Evans also believes Jackson has turned his back on the people that helped turn him into an elite MMA coach:
It's like — who would Greg Jackson be if it wasn't for the original fighters who really put Greg Jackson on the map? Nobody would be hearing about him. Nobody would be hearing about this gym that he has in Albuquerque. He would just be a guy who likes fighting and who coaches guys.
But to turn your back and to against the grain on people who made you who you really are — to me, that's just low.
We've heard plenty of talk from Evans, Jones and Jackson at this point. You know who I really want to hear from? Keith Jardine. "The Dean of Mean" was one of Evans' best friends in the camp. As Evans rightly points out in the USA Today interview, he and Jardine were two of the fighters who helped turn Jackson's camp into one of the most well-known in the sport.
I'd like to hear what Jardine has to say about the rift between Evans and Jones/Jackson/Winkeljohn. Something tells me we'd get something closer to the whole truth than we've gotten thus far.