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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
The UFC's Ultimate Insider program on Fuel TV aired a segment this week featuring UFC 145 headliners Jon Jones and Rashad Evans. The former training partners talked over each other in a series of verbal exchanges, with promises of more to come ahead of their UFC Light Heavyweight Championship fight next weekend in Atlanta.
In a new blog post at FoxSports.com, Jones took real umbrage to one particular comment from Evans, who said Jones wasn't "the champion" yet because he hadn't defeated him.
"My opponent was arrogant to say I wasn't the champion because I hadn't beaten him. He lost this belt years ago, and it has changed hands twice since then ... But I'm not the champion?" Jones wrote, incredulously. "His reign ended in his very first defense — by knockout. I stopped the guy who stopped the guy who stopped him ... But I'm not the champion?"
"My opponent struggled with his long, boring fight with Rampage Jackson where he nearly got finished in the last round. I finished Rampage ... But I'm not the champion? My opponent was knocked silly, did the stanky leg in the center of the Octagon, when he fought Lyoto Machida. I finished Machida ... But I'm not the champion?"
Evans has spent the last year calling Jones out, referring to him as a "fake" person and taking him to task for his public persona, but Jones believes it's Evans simply projecting his own issues on him.
"The truth is, now that I've seen the way he's been this past year, I look at my opponent as fake, self-centered and arrogant, and he tries to reflect all of what he is on me," Jones wrote. "Matt Hughes was the first to call him out for being cocky, for being arrogant, way back on the Ultimate Fighter II back in 2005. That's a Hall of Famer in Matt Hughes, a man who is greatly respected by everyone in the sport, and he was the first guy to sniff out what my opponent really is."
"Then the guy wins the belt and shows up to press conferences - indoor press conferences in the middle of winter - wearing sunglasses," he continued. "He's the guy who kissed his hand and rubbed his crotch during a UFC world title fight. He's the guy who gyrates and dances in the Octagon after he knocks someone out."
"I have no sympathy for my opponent. He is the one who has the problem. He is the one who decided to leave the gym at which we used to train together to build a team that completely focuses on him and his own needs..."
Jones is getting tired of the talk, and simply wants to get this fight - and this feud - behind him. But that doesn't mean he'll let an opportunity to direct another comment towards Evans pass him by.
"I'm the present and the future of the UFC light heavyweight division. My opponent is the past," Jones wrote. "And soon all the talk will be over and I will finally be able prove that in the middle of the Octagon."
Penick's Analysis: Jones' characterization of Evans is something that others have noted about the former Champion throughout the years as well. It's one of the reasons Evans continues to get booed in many of his fights. Jones also has a point about Evans trying to say he's "not a real champion" yet. I'd say stopping the only man that defeated Evans in Machida, stopping the man that beat him in "Shogun" Rua, and stopping a man that Evans took to a decision in "Rampage" Jackson says enough on that front. It really is time for the talk to be over, and next Saturday night cannot get here soon enough.
[Jon Jones art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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