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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
When Jon Jones captured the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship last year, trainer Greg Jackson said he would not corner the 24-year-old in a potential bout with then-teammate Rashad Evans. However, Evans split from the camp following Jones' title win, and after a year away and no intention of coming back, Jackson has decided it is in his best interest to corner Jones afterall.
The UFC Light Heavyweight Champion revealed on Saturday that Jackson has told him he will be in his corner at UFC 145 for the fight. Jackson's hardline stance against it had wavered recently, and he will now help Jones prepare for a fighter he's very familiar with.
Jackson has been very vocal in not wanting to see teammates fight, and indeed in another fight coming later this year in Carlos Condit vs. Georges St-Pierre he's said he'll stay on the sidelines. His main focus when cornering a fighter is to strategize for a specific opponent, and work individually with that fighter on things that need to be done to implement a certain gameplan.
Because of the relationship Jackson had with both Jones and Evans he didn't want to help one side over the other, but with Evans splitting from the camp and having less than kind things to say about them overall in the last year, Jackson has decided it's in his best interest to help Jones. Whether that leads to a bigger advantage for Jones or not remains to be seen, but it's certainly another added wrinkle to the split between the two sides, and the heated rivalry that will play out on April 21.
Penick's Analysis: I think a lot of people believed this would end up being the case. As Jones and Evans are no longer being teammates, and with Evans having no desire to return to Jackson's, the issues Jackson had with the situation aren't as prevalent. Evans already believes Jackson sided with Jones over him, and with Jones still working there it's better for him to help a fighter that's still with him over someone that won't be coming back. Now, for all that Evans knows about Jones, Jackson's got plenty of knowledge about what Evans brings to the table as well, and that could be another advantage for Jones over Evans. Will it be a fight-changing advantage? Perhaps, but even if it's not it is something more that Evans has to concern himself with.
[Jon Jones art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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