Friday, Sept. 23, 2011 | 8:48 p.m.
UFC 135 Content
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DENVER — If anyone could have seen the rivalry between Jon Jones and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson coming, it was Rashad Evans.
Evans is a sworn enemy of both men competing in tomorrow night’s UFC 135 main event at the Pepsi Center. He’s also next in line to face the winner for the light heavyweight championship.
Evans has wobbled on whom he believes he will fight, though. After picking Jones last month, he changed his mind at the Wells Fargo Theatre.
“I got a feeling, I think that Rampage is going to pull it off,” Evans said during a Q & A session before the UFC 135 weigh-in. “I don’t know why.”
Jackson beating Jones would be in the running for the “upset of the year". The 32-year-old former light heavyweight champion is as high as a 5-to-1 underdog.
Just because Evans thinks Rampage can win off doesn’t mean he’ll root for the unexpected. Evans maintained that he’d rather fight Jones, the 24-year-old phenom he used to mentor until the two hada well-documented falling-out earlier this year.
“We have our issues,” Evans said.
Evans didn’t take any steps toward resolving them Friday. He tossed a few insults Jones’ way when given the opportunity.
Evans compared Jones to Milli Vanilli, saying as soon as someone beats the current champion, he’ll be remembered as a “one-hit wonder”. Evans also received a gasp from the crowd when he answered a question about how he would approach Jones differently since the two trained together and know each other’s moves and tendencies.
“I don’t really have to bring anything more than what he’s already seen in training,” Evans said. “That was already more than enough then and I think it will be enough later. I can promise you that.”
Both Evans and Jones allege they beat the other up when they used to spar together. It’s one of many points of contention between the two.
Evans wasn’t nearly as spirited when talking about Jackson, but did get fired up once when talking about his old foe.
“I’ve only lost once,” Evans said. “Rampage has gotten knocked out a couple times, and one time, I whooped his ass.”
Evans won a unanimous decision over Jackson at UFC 114 in one of the UFC’s most infamous grudge matches.
It’s not only Evans who doesn’t have much interest in a rematch at this time, as Jackson also said he had no desire for one earlier this week. Jackson is still turned off by Evans’ out-wrestling him to victory a year and a half ago.
“Rashad really let down the fans in our fight,” Jackson said. “Not only did I lose that fight, but I felt like the fans lost that fight. Rashad talked a whole lot of smack and didn’t back it up.”
Jones has turned down questions about Evans this week, citing his focus on Jackson. If the fight goes the way the champion envisions Saturday, he won’t have any other choice but to answer them.
Evans said he would be able to tell if Jones was going to win by his body language and mannerisms in the cage. He offered some insight.
“Jon will come out real stiff at first,” Evans said. “Then, when he starts feeling it, he’ll start moving around on his feet. When he starts shuffling his feet, it’s over.”