It's deja vu all over again.
It wouldn't be normal these days for the former UFC light heavyweight champion to head into a fight without a chip on his shoulder. Whether it's Jones' arrogance, limited mixed martial arts (MMA) experience or allegations that he had a mole planted inside his MusclePharm training camp, Jackson has been fishing for excuses to beat up "Bones."
He'll finally get the chance tonight (Sept. 24, 2011) when he attempts to reclaim his 205-pound title from Jones, 24, in the UFC 135 main event from the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.
It's been weeks, months of back-and-forth barbs. Sure, it doesn't hold a candle to the dizzying drama between Jackson and Evans, which lasted for more than one year and culminated with a unanimous decision win for "Suga" at UFC 114.
But it has been constant ... and equally as irritating.
Perhaps fabricating conflict is a way to market and sell a fight that would be otherwise disinteresting to unsuspecting/casual fans. B.J. Penn does it better than anyone. It can also maybe even provide a fighter with motivation and fire to compete at a higher level by the time fight night rolls around.
But there comes a point to stop. When all the trash talk, accusations, finger-waving and insults have become just too much.
Jackson and Evans exceeded that limit on the set of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF); unfortunately, we had to endure their bickering for an additional six months or more before they finally settled their score. The rivalry between Jackson and Jones, fortunately, hasn't lasted that long even though it may feel that way.
Tonight is deja vu all over again. Unless, of course, Jackson can manage to do what he was unable to do against Evans, which is back up all that smack and beat "Bones" later this evening.
That's a better, more refreshing, shtick well worth admiring.