Jon “Bones” Jones (13-1) had an action packed day this past Saturday, March 19th, the day of UFC 128 when he faced Mauricio Rua (19-5) for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship title.  The day began with Jones and his coaches Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn, stopping a robbery attempt by catching the thief, turning him over to police and recovering the stolen property.  This news quickly spread through media outlets and Jones tweeted about the experience and talked about it in detail at the UFC post fight press conference that night.

The highlight at the end of the day was Jones winning the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship belt against Rua via TKO (body punches and knee) at 2:37 min the 3rd round.  Jones into the fight as the favorite over the champion and went out and dominated the entire fight up until the stoppage.  This was Rua’s first title defense and his first fight in 10 months after having surgery following his win over Lyoto Machida at UFC 113.

After this victory the fight that was talked about as a possibility between two teammates and friends Jon Jones and Rashad Evans (16-1-1) become a reality.  Rashad Evans was originally the opponent set to fight Rua but had to pull out of the fight in February due to a knee injury.  Jones and Evans have both been training at Team Jackson and Jones agreed to replace his training partner on a six-week short notice.  Now that he has won the title he will have to face his partner in the cage.

Dana White, President, UFC has publicly confirmed that Rashad Evans is definitely next in line for a title shot on MMA Live.  White also stated in an interview with Ariel Helwani that he did not have to convince Evans to take the fight and after all this is business.  In addition, Evans has publicly accepted the fight as well.  He was in attendance at UFC 128 and after the fight he stepped up to the cage to shake Jones’s hand for his win as tension was visible between the two fighters.

Evans is a former Light Heavyweight Champion.  He obtained the belt at UFC 92 when he defeated Forrest Griffin in December 2008.  He then lost his title to Lyoto Machida at UFC 98.  That loss was followed by a decision win over Quinton Jackson at UFC 114 to earn him a title shot once again.  In an interview with Ariel Helwani after the fights Evans paid much compliments to Jones saying that he had expected him to win the fight, was happy for him and knew that he would end up having to fight him from the day the fight was announced.  He rated Jones’s performance as phenomenal and said he expected Jones to dominate the entire fight as it happened.  Asked about the situation now Evans said that the whole situation is awkward but he never wished for Shogun to win to avoid the situation.  He stated that he is always ready to fight and will fight whenever Jones is ready to fight him.  Asked specifically about the fight Evans sounded very confident that there will be no surprises coming from Jones for him since after all he trains with him.

There will not be a problem however with trying to figure out how to train two opponents for an upcoming fight against each other in the same training camp.  Rashad Evans has publicly announced that he is no longer training with Greg Jackson.  When questioned by Ariel Helwani in his interview Evans stated: “I’m done with the Jackson’s.” and did not elaborate.  On the other hand Mike Winkeljohn was reported to have put forth an opinion on that Evans has really left training with their camp a couple of fights ago.  He also stated that Evans has the tools to beat Jones and could be dangerous for him.

For now Jon Jones has said at the post fight conference that he would like to take some time off for his family before getting back to training.  He praised his training coaches at post fight interviews and thanked them specifically stating that Greg Jackson treats all fighters as individuals.  The youngest ever LHW UFC Champ, Jones stated in his post fight interviews that he feels this fight was the most complete showcasing of all his abilities and the win felt great.  He feels that he has techniques in his head because of his passion for the sport but the rest and his style is a gift from God.  On the situation with facing Rashad Evans for his first title defense he stated “it stinks”, he has a lot of respect for Evans and Greg Jackson but he would not want to lose his title or his job because of a principle.  Jones feels that Evans and he would be even better friends after the fight.  He stated that winning the belt was his dream and is his financial security for himself and his family and he can not let it go.

For the actual fight Jones clearly has the size and reach advantage on his side over Evans.  He stands at 6ft4in and has an 84.5in reach, while Evans is 5ft11in with a 74.5in reach.  This size advantage was also very evident during the fight with Shogun as Jones was able to keep him out of reach using his long legs and reach and he will probably keep this strategy for the Evans fight.

Even though Jones has the size and strength advantage Evans has speed and more experience on his side.  Evans is a creative fighter as well and definitely has the tools needed to beat the new champ.  Evans has stated that he would not be surprised by anything Jones throws at him due to them training together, however, the same is most likely true for Jones.  Judging from the fight that just happened, takedowns will not seem to be much of a problem for Jones.  He demonstrated himself to be a complete fighter.  He is not as much of a technical fighter as Evans however.  This fight could go either way and it looks to provide much entertaining speculation for fans and media leading up to the fight.  It is definitely one of the fights on whichever future card it ends up to look forward to.

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