Rashad Evans and Jon Jones have spoken several times about a pact they made not to fight each other, but recent comments from both men suggest they may now be having second thoughts about it.
After an injury forced Evans out of his UFC 128 title fight with Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua recently, it was his friend and Jacksons MMA team-mate Jones who stepped in as his replacement.
While Evans stated that he was happy to see his friend get the shot instead it leaves him in a somewhat awkward spot. If Jones goes on to defeat Shogun, then he either fights him, or will be forced to put his title ambitions to one side for the time being.
It’s far from an ideal scenario, and the former champion is also being pressured by Dana White who has publicly stated his dissatisfaction at some of Evans recent decisions, including his philosophy of not fighting friends.
So something has to give, and it seems that some comments made in the past week may be the catalyst for a change in Evans own thinking on the matter.
First off, Evans own trainer Trevor Wittman stated on Sherdog that he believed ‘Suga’ should fight ‘Bones’ if asked too.
“Mentally, I know it’s a little rough for [Evans] to see one of the guys he made a pact with to not fight go out there and take his position… I had the conversation with Rashad that I felt Rashad should fight Jon Jones if he wins.”
Then Jones came out and declared that if pressed on it, that he would be willing to fight Evans.
“I respect Dana White a lot and if that’s what he absolutely wanted to happen then, you know, I guess that’s what would have to happen,” Jones told Ariel Helwani during an interview for Versus. “Me or Rashad would not want to get fired over the situation. It would just be majorly awkward for us.”
Having heard that it seems that Evans is beginning to see things in a different light.
“You know, Jones expressed last night in an interview that he would fight me for the title, so I guess…I mean I’m no punk, so…” he said on Friday’s MMA Live show.
“If it does happen that I get a title shot afterwards then I have to sit down and think about it depending on who it is, and decide what I want to do. I mean this is a sport, and Jones has a pretty good chance of winning this fight – you know I got him to win it – so If he wins I’ve gotta sit down with the team and decide on what we do from there.”
So it appears he’s not made a final decision on the matter, but the fact that he’s even entertaining the option is a big turnaround from his past thoughts on the matter.