UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon (Bones) Jones is looking to do to Rashad Evans what welterweight title-holder Georges St-Pierre did to Josh Koscheck.
Beat him and then leave him in his dust.
St-Pierre, tired of Koscheck's pre-fight trash talk, did it at UFC 124 in Montreal. Koscheck needed facial surgery in the wake of the December 2010 beatdown.
Jones (15-1) plans to make his statement April 21 at UFC 145 in Atlanta.
The 205-pound champion says it's more a case of taking care of business than bad blood — at least on his part. After numerous delays in having this fight happen, Jones just wants done with it.
"It's personal with him, I'm sure it is," he said of Evans, a former training partner who once held the light-heavyweight title.
"The difference between me and Rashad is Rashad is not a martial artist by any means. I think it's funny when he does commercials in a meditation scene — he's sitting there pretending to meditate.
"He doesn't meditate. He's a guy who grabs his crotch at people. He was actually talking while Lyoto Machida knocked him out. ... That's not a martial artist to me. I don't respect that guy."
Jones, 24, says he has done his bit to hype the fight by responding to some of Evans' jibes. But he plans to have the final say in the cage.
"I'm going to try to teach him what he should have learned in the Lyoto fight — just to close his mouth."
Evans, however, is also after a statement win.
"Beating Jon Jones up means everything to me," he said in a blog for Yahoo Sports. "I want to smash him up so bad. I want to be world champion again — but for this fight, beating up on Jon Jones means absolutely everything.
"I will beat his ass and then tell him that crying won't get him his belt back."
There could be more of the same next week.
"I'm not going to say I expect it but I wouldn't be surprised if he tried to pull some stunts," Jones said.
Evans (22-1-1) acts up at his perils, he added.
"The more he calls me fake and all that stuff, the sillier he's going look when the fight's over."
Jones pointed to Evans' behaviour before his decision win over Phil (Mr. Wonderful) Davis in January.
"Phil Davis is the nicest kid in the world," said Jones. "He (Evans) somehow managed to get into arguments and fights with Phil Davis. And now it's me, it's my turn. It's Rashad, it's just where he comes from. He comes from a negative energy.
"And I want to show that good always prevails."
The Jones-Evans split is well-documented.
Both trained with Greg Jackson but Evans severed the relationship after injury cost him a title shot and Jones stepped in, winning the championship. Evans left the Jackson camp and started his own training enterprise — the Blackzillions — in Boca Raton, Fla.
Jones, who lives in New York state, had continued training in Albuquerque. He brings his family with him for 10-week fight camps.
"I train, sleep, eat. Train, sleep, eat. Play with the kids a little bit and get right back to training, sleeping and eating."
Jones fought four times in 2011. He started in February by submitting Ryan (Darth) Bader and then won the title off Mauricio (Shogun) Rua in March. He went on to defend his crown by beating former champion Quinton (Rampage) Jackson in September and Machida in December.
After his UFC 140 win over Machida on Dec. 10 in Toronto, Jones asked for some time off.
He got almost five months.
"Plenty," said Jones. "Most people go to work every single day."
Appearances kept him busy, however.
He counts a trip to Brazil as a highlight, noting the Brazilians' love for his sport and fellow fighters. While there, he also managed to find time to film a segment with pint-sized Brazilian journalist Mario Filho, who likes to challenge star fighters on his TV program.
"The little reporter?" asked Jones. "I thought that was funny how media know how to get (page) views."
Headlines like 'Brazilian Reporter Takes Down Jon Jones'.
"It was cool. I had fun with the guy," said Jones, who could no doubt have taken off the host's head with a single kick.
He was also grand race marshal for the Daytona 500 — Fox airs both NASCAR and the UFC — although a rainout kept him from performing his duties.
"I met a lot of NASCAR drivers and they were really cool. They were a lot like UFC fighters, just really down-to-earth personable athletes."
Jones is clearly enjoying his duties as champion,
"I love it. I realize I have a small window, not to be used by martial arts but to use martial arts to create a future for myself. I believe in making relationships, connections and I think I've done that in a lot of different fields."
One of those connections was self-help guru Tony Robbins.
"I'm a big student of his," Jones said. "I'm going to make some pretty big changes in my life and I'm excited to learn from him in person."
- Sports & Recreation
- Martial Arts
- Rashad Evans
- Jon Jones