Jon Jones on Whether Rashad Evans is in his Prime: “I Don’t Know; We’ll See”
Notes From Today’s UFC 145 Pre-Fight Press Conference
By FCF Staff
The Ultimate Fighting Championship continued to focus the UFC 145 spotlight on this Saturday’s main event competitors, as the only fighters on hand at today’s pre-fight press conference were light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Rashad Evans.
In contrast to previous press conferences and interview the former teammates have conducted, Evans and Jones were much more civil towards each other during today’s presser.
Saturday’s event will be hosted by Atlanta’s Philips Arena and will be available via pay-per-view.
Here were some of the highlights from today’s media event.
Evans said that he has “supreme confidence” in his abilities to take the champion down, adding that he’s done so before.
The former champion also relayed that he believes Jones is underestimating him, before stating that he isn’t bothered by the fact that the odds makers have made him a huge underdog.
Jones said he would have to give Evans “some degree of credit” for helping him evolve as a fighter while they were teammates under Greg Jackson.
When asked if he believes he “gets his due” as one of the best light-heavyweights to date in the UFC, Evans said no. The TUF vet added that “it would be huge” if he beats Jones, and acknowledged that a victory Saturday would certainly help his standing as one of the sport’s best.
Jones credited Evans for being “one of the best fighters in the world” and that his opponent has a “gift” for speed and grappling.
The champion relayed that he’s “probably watched” Evans’ bout with Phil Davis “65 times” and that his coaches are extremely familiar with his opponent’s techniques.
When asked if the 32 year-old Evans is still in his prime, the 24 year-old Jones responded with “I don’t know; we’ll see”.
Jones said Evans is “different” but “not necessarily improved” since the two were teammates. The Jackson trained fighter did say that he believes Evans is in better shape since he departed from the team.
Evans acknowledged that he has grown tired of talking about his ongoing feud with Jones and that he just wants to fight.
Evans said that previous opponents of Jones have given the champion too much time and space to allow him to “paint a masterpiece.”
Jones relayed that he believes “in my heart I might not be taken down” by Evans but that he’s prepared to fight off his back if need be.
Evans stated that he’s not worried about his emotions affecting his performance and that sometimes emotions, if managed effectively, can be beneficial for competition.
Jones criticized Evans for not reaching out to former coach Mike Winkeljohn after the fighter split from the camp.
Evans said “I’ve made my peace” while discussing his fractured relationship with Jackson and Winkeljohn, before adding that the “truth is somewhere out there.”
The former champion said Chuck Liddell is the greatest light-heavyweight of all time while Jones chose Tito Ortiz, citing the fighter’s extensive record as champ.
Evans said “I don’t know” and that he “doesn’t really care”, when asked if he believes that the UFC wants him to have the belt, but acknowledged that there must be some willingness due to the fact he’s fighting for the title.
Jones claimed that he has “no game plan whatsoever” for this bout, and that he believes Evans wants to “get this fight to the ground.”
Evans said he believes that both he and Jones are tired of discussing their feud, before Jones acknowledged “it’s taken off some steam.”
Jones credited Alexander Gustafsson for his abilities, but added that he believes the Swedish fighter needs to fight more noted strikers and wrestlers before he deserves a title shot.
Jones credited Evans for being a “winner” and “a good person”, before each fighter left the door open to the possibility that they could be friends once again.