The bad blood between the two combatants in Saturday’s light heavyweight title bout continued to build at today’s press conference, with both champion Jon “Bones” Jones and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson interrupting each other’s answers and tossing insults at the other.
The tension built as Jackson was asked about Jones’ comments that he was older and slower then the champion. The challenger retorted that Jones could think what he wants, as he hasn’t fought anybody. Jones quickly interjected and accused Jackson of being disrespectful to Shogun with that comment. Jackson said it was obvious Shogun was rusty, and that Shogun was also rusty when he lost to Forrest Griffin. Jones won the exchange by noting that Forrest Griffin defeated Rampage as well.
When asked about never being rocked, Jones intimated that getting KO’d was a problem for older fighters. Jones stated with a laugh that he’s “a young 24 year old still growing pubic hair” and has a fresh chin.
The comment came back to bite Jones, in the answer of an innocuous question about how Rampage was enjoying Denver. Rampage noted that he enjoyed the Denver Zoo, and saw “a little monkey that looked like Jon Jones. He even had the pubic hair on his face”, which had the room erupting in laughter.
The discourse between the semi-main event participants, Matt Hughes and Josh Koscheck, proved to be more civil. Koscheck even noted he wasn’t used to being the calm one on the stage, saying “all the drama is with these two guys”, nodding at Jackson and Jones. Koscheck later added with a smile that accepting the fight on 19 days notice didn’t leave a lot of time to “stir things up”.
Both welterweights remained respectful of their opponents, Koscheck maintained that even though he has accepted this fight on short notice, he has been working out at AKA for 4-5 months now, primarily helping the gym’s Strikeforce fighters prepare for their bouts.
When Koscheck wondered aloud why the Hughes fight had never happened before, Hughes said he was never offered it, which Dana White confirmed. Dana pointed to Hughes’ track record of accepting any fight they had put in front of him.
Hughes re-iterated that this is the last fight on his current contract, and he will talk to UFC and discuss plans after Saturday night. Hughes, 37, said he “doesn’t want to fight into his forties” and is taking things day by day. He also confirmed that in his corner will be Jeremy Horn, Matt Pena, Pat Miletich and Robbie Lawler.
As the conference was broken up for the media squareoffs, Jones did look Jackson in the eye this time around. As they turned to face the cameras, Jackson appeared to keep talking to Jones, but with no microphones on it’s difficult to know what was said. What is certain is that the slow burn to Saturday’s main event is nearly done and the fireworks are set to begin.