In the latest installment of the ongoing soap opera between Jon Jones and Rashad Evans, Jon Jones went on The Score yesterday and named two possible opponents who he expects to face in his first title defense in October. Neither one was Rashad Evans. Transcription via Sport Radio Interviews:
“I had to postpone my first title defense against Rashad Evans due to some torn tissues in my thumb. My last doctor’s appointment they told me I should be able to get back to full out training within the next month. I’m excited about that. I’m expected to compete against Lyoto Machida or Rampage Jackson in maybe October, mid-October.”
Before you go adding that to the “Jones ducked Evans” evidence file though, Jones clarified in another interview with Top MMA News (via CP) that it was actually Dana White who told him Rampage or Machida could be next his next opponent.
“I don’t even think I’ll be fighting [the winner of Davis-Evans] now. I had a meeting with Dana and he’s talking about Lyoto [Machida] or [Quinton] Rampage [Jackson] and if Rashad wins decisively, he’ll get the title shot [after them],” Jones explained. “But I’m in the business of competing against the most elite males in the world in hand-to-hand combat and that’s something I have a lot of pride in. So whoever comes next, when I’m ready, I’ll be ready.”
To add another wrinkle to this story, Rashad Evans says the beef between him and Jones extends to Jones’ manager Malki Kawa as well. Until very recently, Jones and Evans were managed by Kawa, but around the same time the feud erupted, Kawa and his partner Glenn Robinson split. Jones stayed with Kawa while Evans went with Robinson. Neither manager will say if the Jones-Evans feud was the reason for the split, but Evans revealed to MMA Weekly earlier this week that his relationship with Kawa deteriorated when his relationship with Jones went sour.
“To be honest, I think that probably me and Malki had a disagreement that kind of soured the whole relationship in a lot of ways. Malki was very vocal and saying things like ‘Jon Jones is going to destroy me’ and stuff like that when he’s supposed to be representing me,” Evans revealed.
“One of my friends pulled me to the side and said ‘you need to adjust this Malki because Malki is your manager, he needs to stop going around saying he represents you in one breath and the next breath saying that Jon Jones is going to destroy you.’ Whether he believes that or not, that’s irrelevant,” said Evans.
“The simple fact that he’s going around saying he represents you and then he’s spitting venom on your name. When in reality, he’s got two clients he should on the outside at least look like he’s representing them both to the fullest and not putting one above the other.”
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like where going to get any resolution to this situation this year and it’s nowhere near guaranteed that we will in the foreseeable future either considering both will be taking other fights. In a perfect world, Evans would beat Davis and fight Jones in November or December, but for whatever reason it looks like the UFC is going in a different direction. With all the continued back-and-forth between Jones and Evans, that is very frustrating. They need to fight so we don’t have to hear about this for the next year.