UFC light heavyweight Rashad Evans will enter the Octagon for the fifteenth time in his career when he faces off against Jon Jones on April 21 for the title. Since debuting in the organization the TUF 2 winner has compiled a 12-1-1 record including success against former champions Tito Ortiz, Forrest Griffin, Chuck Liddell, and Quinton Jackson.
However, at 33, Evans knows he likely only has a few more years left as an elite competitor which is in part why sees his UFC 145 match-up with Jones is so important. Though taking “Bones” belt and satisfying the personal score with his former training partner are important to him, beating the dynamic divisional king is also an opportunity for Evans to remind the world why he’s a future Hall of Famer.
“I’m one of the very best light heavyweights out there and it’s time for me to cement my legacy,” wrote Evans in a blog entry he penned for Yahoo Sports. “I’ve beat top guys for years and years – before Jon was even in the UFC – and in a sport where everyone loses big fights here and there, I’ve had one bad night in seven years. This is the perfect opportunity and perfect chance for me to show that I’m as good as my record says I am.”
To dethrone Jones, Evans believes he’ll have to avoid the mental mistakes past opponents have made by often taking a tentative approach to exchanging offense with the seemingly unbeatable 24-year old.
“The illusion of or the mythical Jon Jones that the other guys fought, it doesn’t exist for me. I know how weak he is mentally – all the doubts he has about himself. I’m going to be the first one to stop this kid,” explained Evans of his intentions. “I saw an interview where he says he’s not giving it to me. He don’t have to. I’m taking it from him…”
The bout will mark the climax of the longstanding rivalry between the two 205ers stemming from Evans feeling as though Jones slighted him while teammates. Now it appears Evans is ready to return the favor, showing a gross lack of respect come showtime in Atlanta.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC