ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 16: Fighters Jon Jones (L) and Rashad Evans pose after a press conference promoting UFC 145: Jones v Evans at Philips Arena on February 16, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
When UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones defends his 205-pound title against Rashad Evans at UFC 145 on Sat., April 21, 2012, at the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, he will do so as a heavy favorite. In fact, the champ initially opened as a -600 favorite.
But to hear the challenger tell it, he's got what it takes to dethrone the division deity. Not just in the sense that he'll do his best and he's training hard and all the usual tired old cliches, but because he once trained with Jones when they shared a gym at Greg Jackson's in New Mexico.
And he got the better of his former teammate.
"Bones" denies this, of course, and goes all Allen Iverson when it's brought up to him. Because, after all, we're talking 'bout practice, man.
Outside of that, though, Jones has brought in some big guns, literally, to put him through the ringer before he ever climbs inside the cage later this month. And, as he tells The Sun, there's just no way for Evans to break him mentally.
"Rashad talks about the time he held me down in practice and how he was getting me to break mentally. I've eliminated all possibilities of that happening. I have my older brother here, I have Travis Brown here and I have a whole bunch of heavyweights that are a lot more powerful and big than Rashad and I'm having these guys hold me down in practice and try their hardest to break me mentally. Basically, I'm fighting from the worst position he could put me in and if he's banking on breaking me mentally, he's going to have a rude awakening when he realizes that's just not going to happen."
These two have been on a collision course since Jones won the title from Mauricio Rua at UFC 128 last year, an opportunity he was afforded thanks to Evans getting injured and giving him his blessing.
But Jones turned around and said he would fight his teammate, which Rashad didn't respond well to and after months and months of trash talk, it was clear they were destined to meet inside the cage.
"Bones" defended his belt a few times and "Suga" just kept winning to bring us to today, just 20 days out from what should be one of the biggest fights of the year.
Sound like Jones is ready and raring to go. Are you?