Rashad Evans Gives Jon Jones His Blessing To ‘Go Get That Belt’

Rashad Evans isn’t going to let his own misfortune cast a shadow on Jon Jones’ unlikely opportunity. Evans posted a message yesterday on his official website imploring his teammate and friend to “go get that belt.”

Hey my ppl! Last night most of u heard the news. If not here is the latest. I have 2 pull out of my Shogun fight because of injury. I severely sprained my MCL in practice. While in practice I got blindsided by another group of partners right into the side of my knee like football lineman style.. Since I’m hurt my teammate young phenom Bones Jones is gonna step in 4 me! I’m gonna recover & then see what happens next 4 me! Thank all u 4 the encouragement! I love my supports & my haters! Go get that belt brudda Jones!

Evans further explained on ESPN MMA Live (via Fighters Only) that if Jones wins the title, he refuses to challenge for him for it. He’ll move up or down a division before he fights Jones.

“I’m happy for Jones, I think it’s a great fight for him. I think Jones is gonna smash Rua.

“Training with Jones in practice, he’s one of the best guys I’ve ever trained with. The level he’s gotten to so fast is scary and alarming. He’s one of those guys at the gym, he’ll be the first one there and the last one to leave… He’s hungry, he wants it, so I’m glad if it’s going to be someone to step into my place, I’m glad it’s him.

“I’m still not going to fight Jon. I will always find something to challenge myself. I will go up to heavyweight or down to middleweight. But I will not fight Jon,” he said.

Oddsmakers seem to think Jones has a good chance to “smash” Shogun as well. Several online sportsbooks have Jones listed as a -195 favorite over the light heavyweight champ. As I mentioned before, I think this match-up will heavily depend on the health of Shogun’s knee. He looked awful against a far past-his-prime Mark Coleman the last time he came off knee surgery. That type of performance won’t cut it against a young dynamic fighter like Jones, and may explain the rather surprising opening lines.

If Shogun’s healthy and in-shape though, I’d have to give him the edge. Jones is dangerous on the feet, but I still think Shogun outmatches him there. Jones is going to want to get this fight to the ground where he can get in top position and drop his elbows. I don’t think he’ll have too much trouble doing that, but Shogun isn’t a guy he’s going to be able hold down as easily as Ryan Bader, Brandon Vera and Vladimir Matyushenko. Shogun has a very slick jiu-jitsu game he primarily uses for sweeps and escapes, and he’s very effective at doing that. If Shogun has the energy I think he’ll be able to keep it on the feet long enough to punish Jones and possibly end the fight.

  • Matt Silliman

    I think jones will be able to pull this one off.

    Shogun does have more experience and has fought tougher competition, but he hasn’t faced anything like Jones and that 84″ reach.

    If jones struggled in previous fights or it was a grind to get here I would say shogun has this. However, jones walked through tough guys to get here. Not top level like shogun, but tough guys never the less. I’m not sure how jones will win because shogun isn’t going to get caught in a sub (unless he gases) and he has a great chin. It’s gonna be a great fight either way.

  • http://www.mmaconvert.com Steve Barry

    Shogun beat the tall, lanky version of Alistair Overeem with a 81.5″ reach. Not 84″ obviously but pretty close. Shogun closes distance fast, I think he’s be able to deal with it.

    • sam snee

      im with you steve. remember the sweeping hook he got Liddell with. He closes distance FAST

  • Leo

    I feel sorry for rashad, he’s one of the most exiting guys around.
    If Jon wins rashad may never see a belt again, and moving up to heavyweight won’t help his chances.

  • pat

    rashad is not exciting hes boring and safe….i hope he never fights again

  • sandman

    Rua is good at closing the gap when he is at a reach disadvantage, but I think he needs to be wary of the unorthodox angles from which Jones strikes with elbows and backfists…

  • Stevey

    To me the most interesting thing is: how will Jones respond if he gets punched hard? Is his chin strong? I dunno, cause I never seen that before, and I guess no1 has. And ofc the other question is in what shape is Shogun gonna show up? If he’s in good shape, he will be hard to keep on the ground and if he keeps it standing he will punish Jones’ legs and body, so lots of interesting stuff to look forward to in this fight.

  • Danny Trejo

    i hope Jones wins so Rashad cant have his title back. Fight your teammate asshole, make it more of a grappling match if ur such good friends

  • smh

    Thts why he should move down to middleweight he is a small light heavyweight anyways and him vs silva would be a exciting fight with both of there funny crazy fightin stances

  • Chaiyoshnay

    This is sort of bitter sweet for me. Rashad is one of my favorite fighters and even though he has had a few boring fights (who hasn’t?) he always brings it. It sucks to see him sidelined. But if there was one person I would pick to replace him, it would be Jones. I’m actually hoping Rashad moves to middleweight, because he a little undersized at light heavy. That’s assuming Jones defeats Shogun, which is no easy task. Either way it should be entertaining to see how everything unfolds.

  • sam snee

    Definitely agree with most of what you all say. Rashad at middle weight seems like a dangerous thing. will his speed translate down there? AND what does he do if he goes down, loses to silva (or someone else) he might be forced to go 205 again and be a rich franklin type

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