After an incredible streak of stoppages against some of the best names in the history of the UFC's Light Heavyweight division, UFC 205 pound champion Jon Jones finally saw it come to an end earlier this year in the UFC 145 main event against former friend and current rival Rashad Evans.
While Jones would win the fight pretty convincingly, he rarely had Evans in serious trouble and seemed content to play to his physical advantages and ride out the 25 minutes.
"With Rashad, I think a part of me saw a guy that I had sparred against, and I don't know - some of those elbows were definitely malicious, but my killer instinct was just not there for some reason. I was more focused - and I hate to say this - on just winning that fight. I'm not going to sit here and say I took it easy, but there was something in my bones that didn't allow me to really, really try to really hurt him and I think that was a small part about why I couldn't finish Rashad."
Of cource, Jones didn't want to say the blame lay fully on his end. Rashad is, after all, a pretty damn good fighter.
"To his credit, Rashad is an awesome warrior. He only lost once in like 20-something fights. Me and Rashad are both gifted. We're both winners. Our styles are different, entertainment factors could be different, but at the end of the day, we're both winners. To go against a winner, and I feel as if I dominated him, that speaks for itself. Finishing, I wish I could have. But I couldn't."
While Jones admits the killer instinct may have been lacking against Evans, he strongly feels that won't be the case when he steps into the Octagon opposite Vitor Belfort next weekend (Sept. 22, 2012). There's no mental block, no reason for him to hold anything back.
"Vitor is someone that I really don't know, and I think I'll have a better time going out there and feeling like I'm at war."
So what do you think about this, Maniacs?
Was Jones mentally holding back against Evans earlier this year? Will he be able to "unleash the beast" on Vitor Belfort next Saturday night in Toronto?