Rashad Evans: Beating Jon Jones more important than winning the belt

Jon Jones (left) and Rashad Evans face off on April 21 in UFC 145.
(Getty Images)

(This is the first of a series of Yahoo! exclusive blogs from “Suga” Rashad Evans as he prepares to fight bitter rival and UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones on April 21.)

I’ve been the No. 1 contender to the UFC light heavyweight championship since May 29, 2010, when I beat “Rampage” Jackson to earn a shot at my old belt. I’ve been waiting to fight the current champion, Jon Jones, for a year, but injuries and timing issues with both of us have stopped it from happening until now.

In one month, on April 21 in Atlanta, I’m getting my title back but, to me, beating Jon Jones up and proving I am the better man and better fighter is even more important than waking up the next day as a two-time UFC champion.

Everyone knows the history between us. Because this fight has been coming for a year I’ve already talked about it forever. And I know I’m going to have to keep talking about it over the next month so all I’ll say now is that yes, it is very personal and, yes, this is the most important fight of my life for sure.

[Related: UFC bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz plays mind games with rival Urijah Faber]

For someone who says he doesn’t talk a lot, Jon talks a hell of a lot. If there’s any validity to what he’s saying, if there’s any truth to him being the “Muhammad Ali of MMA,” then he’s got to deal with me. It’s not a fight he is taking lightly, I’m sure. Jon always trains hard, and I know he will be training extra hard for this fight against me.

I heard a stat about Jon that he’s never been taken down in the UFC. But I’ve taken him down plenty, and I know he can’t fight off his back. I think my takedowns will be a key to this fight. I know Jon can take me down, too – he’s done it – but I’ve taken down every single fighter I’ve ever wanted to get down, and I took Jon down time and time again in the gym. I think style-wise I am all wrong for him.

I know Jon thinks he’s better than me. He thinks he’s better than everyone. What he don’t understand is that it only matters who is better on the night. I’ve been in the UFC since 2005, and other than one night, I’ve been the better man on the night every time.

[More from Rashad Evans: Jon Jones is mentally weak]

At UFC 145, I think it will come down to who really wants it. We are both going to get beat on in this fight, we are both going to get banged up and hurt, but I want this more.

On April 21, at UFC 145, beating Jon Jones up means everything to me. I want to smash him up so bad. I want to be world champion again – but for this fight, beating up on Jon Jones means absolutely everything.

I will beat his ass and then tell him that crying won’t get him his belt back.

Who you got? Tell “Suga” how you see the fight going @SugaRashadEvans

Other popular content on Yahoo! Sports:
Kansas has right ingredients to shake March curse and keep on ‘dancing’
Tim Tebow chooses to be traded to Jets instead of Jags | Tim Tebow photos
Video: Baylor’s Brittney Griner becomes second woman to dunk in NCAA tournament

Follow Yahoo! Sports' MMA coverage on Twitter.
Updated Thursday, Mar 22, 2012