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Big Brother Rashad: Jon Jones’s Ultimate Test?
His reality is everyone else’s mystery. Jon Jones’ ascension to the pantheon of the current MMA elite has been as meteoric as it has been expected. The only glitch was a penalty “loss” against Matt Hamill in a bout he was clearly winning.
Not too long ago, Rashad Evans was sweet in everyone’s mind. He was the next big thing. And he got there the good ol’ fashioned way. By beating everyone in his path and doing so decisively. Until he met then unbeaten dark horse Lyoto Machida, a real life Ryu if there ever was one, and he was knocked out in a fight that was showing his limitations against a technical fighter. Add in the fact that Jones recently choked out Machida and this fight is not even close at the betting table.
However, Evans has something none of Jones’ previous victims had; history. Whether this will aid him to victory is another matter altogether.
Evans makes the claim that he beat Jones, who is eight years his junior, rather easily when they trained under Greg Jackson’s training camp. Of course, this was only for one session according to Jones. Evans also made attempted to rile Jones in the UFC octagon after two of Jones’ victories. This has flared Jones’ temper to the point of boldly stating that he will convincingly beat Evans.
Recently, Evans has called Jones a phony who is too cocky. Whether Jones is the former, the latter is hard to avoid for a young fighter who has never been decisively beat en. Humility becomes a liability to fame.
Maybe Evans sees a younger version of himself in Jones. After all, he did help train the young fighter and helped improve his ground game. Maybe there is a little resentment and jealousy at the throne Jones currently resides, both in the MMA universe and Jackson’s training camp. In fact, Evans was slated to face then champion, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua before an injury forced him to watch Jones stop Rua and claim the title. Maybe Evans feels he would have been able to beat the man who bested his conqueror. And maybe, just maybe, Evans is angry at a man whom he knows he has the key to victory. It’s time for little brother to take the test against big brother.
As previously stated, Evans claims to have dominated Jones during a particular session—a claim Jones does not deny but rather claims Evans is guilty of hyperbole. Jones even states that they were like brothers during their training days. What type of secrets and insecurities were shared will amount to nothing once the cage door closes and the actions starts.
Coming into this fight, Evans comes with a bit of forward steam following a victory over formerly undefeated Phil Davis. The fight itself was ho-hum and Davis was all heart but a few beats slower than Evans. What Davis lacks and Jones possesses in abundance is versatile striking.
And adding to a bit of this drama is Quinton “Rampage” Jackson’s claim after losing to Jones by submission that he feels that Evans is the only man who can beat Jones. Only Machida can add to that statement as they have both fought Evans and Jones—with Jones submitting both.
The smart money says that Jones’ speed and versatile striking ability will compound to Evans’ limited kicking skills and will lead to a 3rd round stoppage. The funny money says that Evans has not only a big brother mentality on Jones but that he also has the punching power and ground control to beat Jones.
One thing is for certain, when these two upstate New York-born n’ bred fighters meet at UFC 145 on April 21, the time for talking will be over, and the time for proving will have just begun.