After waiting an eternity, Rashad Evans will have the chance to regain the UFC light heavyweight title sometime in 2011. Fellow light heavyweight Jon Jones is on the fast track. Two more wins for the 24-year-old and fans will be howling for him to get a shot. But the UFC may have another problem on its hands with fighters from the same camp not wanting to square off. Jones said the friendship between he and Evans, who both train at Jackson's Submission Fighting in New Mexico, has a deeper connection.
"Not that it has anything to do with race, but we're both African-American guys and we're fighters. We've got a lot of similarities between family and all this other type of stuff," Jones told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Jones (11-1, 6-1 UFC) is right there aren't a lot of African-Americans fighting at the highest level. It's part of the reason he chose to go so far away from home in Albuquerque. Aside from the chance to work with a guru like Greg Jackson, he saw a guy who came from the same background in Evans.
"Rashad's a unique character to me. There's not many guys that I can relate to like Rashad, and preparing to do physical damage to him just doesn't add up to me," said Jones.
Much like AKA teammates Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch, who may be faced with a similar decision if Koscheck upsets Georges St. Pierre for the welterweight title, Jones says he and Evans are too tight to fight.
"Fighting Rashad is the last thing I'd ever want to do," Jones said. "To me, being able to call Rashad when we're 40 years old and say, 'Let's go fishing,' or something like that, that's more important than the paycheck we would get today. I train with the guy. We've had conversations about personal things."
This is a mounting issue for UFC matchmakers. Dana White is digging in on his stance. He doesn't understand why teammates won't fight each other and last week he think said they're afraid to lose a buddy.