Jon Jones and Rashad Evans have shared a storied and very much turbulent past. From dedicated training partners to championship rivals, the two light heavyweights have exchanged more than just punches inside of the Octagon.
Over the years, since Jones defeated Evans via unanimous decision back at UFC 145 to retain his 205-pound title, the feud between “Bones” and “Suga” has seemingly died down. That was bound to happen, though, considering Evans helped mentor Jones when he came into the sport so many years ago.
The two have continued to share praise for one another over the past week after Evans discussed the greatest fighters of all time in a recent interview with TMZ Sports. Evans was quick to name Jones the G.O.A.T and pointed out everything good that “Bones” has done inside of the cage.
“Without a doubt, Jon Jones,” said Evans. “When it comes down to it, I think that Jon Jones is the best in history. When he’s inside the cage, he’s dynamic. He’s got some skill. But, I would say technically speaking, he’s probably the best fighter. When you fight guys that good, you feel like after the fight is over, there’s another level that I need to get to. You don’t feel like, ‘aw man, I had a bad day.’ You just feel, ‘man, I need to get to another level to be able to beat this guy.’”
Jones, who remains one of the most accomplished fighters in MMA history, took the time to respond to Evans and show his respect for his former teammate.
Big words coming from such an icon of our sport. I’m truly honored and humbled. Whether you know it or not you’ve been a role model to me, I sincerely thank you for your contribution to myself, the sport and so many around the world. pic.twitter.com/Y4tKp0WBuG— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) May 31, 2019
“Big words coming from such an icon of our sport,” wrote Jones in a recent Twitter post. “I’m truly honored and humbled. Whether you know it or not you’ve been a role model to me, I sincerely thank you for your contribution to myself, the sport and so many around the world.”
Jones, who has encountered his fair share of issues outside of the cage, has regained momentum in the light heavyweight division after knocking off Alexander Gustafsson in a rematch late last year to reclaim his 205-pound title and then defending it against Anthony Smith this past March. The champ is currently scheduled to defend his light heavyweight strap once again against the red-hot Thiago Santos at UFC 239 next month in Las Vegas.
As for Evans, the former UFC light heavyweight champion will be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame this July.