UFC 126 - Monday morning wrap-up
Rashad Evans injured, Jon Jones gets title shot against
Jones and Rua sat next to each other at the press conference after it was announced that Jones would challenge Rua for the title. As Jones answered questions, Rua often appeared as if he wished his English were better
Last week’s feature
focused on two local UFC fighters who not only won their fights in Vegas last weekend, but both collected bonus checks: Donald Cerrone for his part in the “Fight of the Night” against Paul Taylor, and Jon Jones, who got submission of the night after his guillotine choke forced Ryan Bader to tap. Funny thing is, Jones’ fight easily could have been called Fight of the Night (that is, if it wasn’t so one-sided), and Cerrone’s rear naked choke could have been Submission of the Night. But whatever you call it, neither one is sweating the extra 75K worth of chedda.
In one of the more memorable post-fight announcements it was revealed to the world, including Jones himself, that Jones’ teammate, mentor, and friend Rashad Evans had just injured his knee in training for his fight, six weeks away, against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, the light heavyweight champ. It had been decided behind closed doors that if Jones beats Bader convincingly he’d be offered the title shot.
Jones’ drubbing of Bader was indeed convincing. Bader never threatened Jones with anything. The closest he came to a take down was when he pulled Jones down on top of him, giving Jones the opportunity to apply the choke.
Jon Jones with his favorite issue of his favorite paper
Jones was told about his opportunity to fight for the title by ring interviewer Joe Rogan. Jones, in disbelief, accepted.
In the press conference Jones mentioned how crazy it is that he’d been studying Shogun in order to mimic his fighting style when helping Rashad prepare for the fight. Jones is well-known for his study habits in preparing for fights, and now that knowledge is going to come in handy in his own fight prep.
In last week’s feature we mentioned that the teammate bonds at Jackson’s, which so far have prevented Jackson’s teammates from fighting one another, have never been tested with a title belt on the line.
Since Evans is only sitting out his title shot because of his injury he’ll be the automatic challenger for the title when he heals. But if Jones wins, Evans said yesterday, he’ll either move up to heavyweight or down to middleweight, rather than challenge Jones for the title, as he told MMA Live after the fight:
"I'm happy for Jones, I think it's a great fight for him. I think Jones is going to smash Rua."
"Training with Jones in practice, he's one of the best guys I've ever trained with. The level he's gotten to so fast is scary and alarming. He's one of those guys at the gym, he'll be the first one there and the last one to leave. ... He's hungry, he wants it, so I'm glad if it's going to be someone to step into my place, I'm glad it's him."
"I'm still not going to fight Jon. I will always find something to challenge myself. I will go up to heavyweight or down to middleweight. But I will not fight Jon."
Jones entering the cage, full of business and whooop-ass