If there’s one flaw fans have seemed to find with otherwise invincible light heavyweight champion Jon Jones it pertains to the perception he is a cocky athlete hiding behind a curtain of humility; that he’s a phony. The criticism first heated up a year ago when former teammate Rashad Evans labeled him along those lines, pointing to Jones’ attitude in camp and desire to fight him despite promising otherwise to his face.
Evans and Jones addressed the topic on last week’s Ultimate Insider during the second part of a segment seeing them go face-to-face over a variety of subjects. While Evans certainly didn’t stray from his belief, Jones was ready to defend himself, stating he felt the #1 contender is projecting the negative characteristics he sees in himself when it comes to dishing out insults.
“As an athlete, yeah I have a chip on my shoulder. There’s completely two different people. Jonathan Jones is a great person and I’ll say that about myself. ‘Bones’ Jones, yeah he’s a little high on himself. And I should be because that’s why I compete at the level I compete at and I train/believe that way,” admitted Jones before turning talk to Evans.
“I have no sympathy for Rashad whatsoever. I remember (him) leaving Greg Jackson’s and saying, ‘I needed a team that can just focus on me. I need something more based around me,’ and now (he) created the Blackzillians. I say it all the time – there’s no ‘I’ in team, there’s no ‘I’ in Jackson’s, there’s an ‘I’ in Blackzillians. So I really look at (him) as fake…arrogant…selfish…self-centered…and I think (his) biggest thing is to try to reflect it off on me and make me seem like I’m everything (he) is feeling inside of (his) heart.”
As might be expected, Evans didn’t take kindly to the matter and quickly fired back, starting a memorable exchange likely leaving host Jon Anik on edge based on the increasing intensity.
“The truth of the matter is you did wanna fight me and now we’re fighting, that’s just the bottom line,” snapped Evans.
“Why would I want to fight you if I’m the champ,” asked Jones in reply.
“Because you can’t be the champ unless you beat me,” Evans returned.
“I already am the champ, Rashad. I just choked out the guy who knocked you out. What are you talking about,” an smirking Jones answered, alluding to his submission victory over Lyoto Machida in December.
“You’ve got the belt but you ain’t the champ.”
“You had this long, ugly fight with (Quinton Jackson) where you almost got finished…I finished ‘Rampage’, I’m not the champ….Lyoto knocked you out silly and I just finished Lyoto…and I’m not the champ,” said Jones, his amusement in the debate dwindling. “I feel like the champ in every way and I feel like I’m gonna do the same exact thing to you (at UFC 145).”
Evans and Jones fight this Saturday night in Atlanta to settle their personal score with the added bonus of Jones’ championship being on the line.
Check out video of the interview below:
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC