Three years ago, Rashad Evans fought Jon Jones for the UFC light-heavyweight title. The fight marked the end of a year-long friendship between the two and has been preceded by an ugly, public feud. Their hatchet is buried by now, Jones and Evans are able to speak to each another again, but, as Evans told MMA Fighting, their relationship is “never going to be what it was before.” And “Suga” obviously regrets that fact very much.
“Jon Jones was one of my favorite training partners and I would have loved to be able to see what we could have done together if we were able to stay together. Our training sessions were really good. We had some really good training sessions. I felt like we could have learned a lot from each other and raised each other’s game up,” said Evans.
Evans and Jones were training partners at Jackson & Winkeljohn’s MMA in Albuquerque. After Jones became champion in 2011 and was scheduled to defend his belt against Evans, “Suga” decided to leave the team and break-up with Jackson, Winkeljohn and his former “brother” Jones, what resulted in a public verbal slugfest between all parties involved. In retrospective, Evans feels he possible made a few mistakes back then.
“I think at some point you have to look back and see your role in the situation,” Evans said. “Looking back and seeing my whole role in the situation, I didn’t handle everything right.”
It is obvious that there is no hatred anymore between the former arch rivals, their feud is over. But that doesn’t mean, that Evans wouldn’t fight Jones again, should the opportunity present itself. Only this time, it would be a fight without any emotion, he says.
“He’s one of my favorite fighters to watch,” Evans said. “Even when he fights, I kind of root for the guy. I get excited when I see him pull off moves that nobody else can do. I still got that feeling for the guy. I don’t hate him and there’s no reason for me to act like I do hate him. Would I fight him? Yeah, I’d fight him. But for the most part I don’t hate the guy.”
Evans is currently recovering from a knee injury and hopes to return to action by the end of this year.
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