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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
"For me, Jon Jones and that whole experience taught me a lot. Jon Jones was one of my favorite training partners and I would have loved to be able to see what we could have done together if we were able to stay together. Our training sessions were really good. We had some really good training sessions. I felt like we could have learned a lot from each other and raised each other's game up... I think at some point you have to look back and see your role in the situation. Looking back and seeing my whole role in the situation, I didn't handle everything right.
...He's one of my favorite fighters to watch. Even when he fights, I kind of root for the guy. I get excited when I see him pull off moves that nobody else can do. I still got that feeling for the guy. I don't hate him and there's no reason for me to act like I do hate him. Would I fight him? Yeah, I'd fight him. But for the most part I don't hate the guy."
-Rashad Evans talks to MMAFighting.com and reflects on the rift between he and Jon Jones that led to him leaving Greg Jackson's camp in 2011.
Penick's Analysis: While Jones saying he would fight Evans if the UFC wanted him to was the beginning of their split, it was Evans' reaction that caused it to be irreparable at that time. It was apparent to most that Jones was on his way to the title picture, and a fight with Evans would have been in line eventually anyway. Jones being willing to take that fight wasn't something Evans took well, and had he been able to understand it better then perhaps there wouldn't have been such bad blood for the next couple of years. They've gotten past that, of course, and Evans still might have left Jackson's anyway even if cooler heads had prevailed, but it's impossible to know what might have been for both fighters.
[Rashad Evans art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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