With just over a week to go until the light heavyweight title is on the line at UFC 145, main event fighters Jon Jones and Rashad Evans welcomed the media on the UFC 145 conference call today.
The two were on the line for nearly 45mins and talked about everything under the sun regarding their rivalry.
Below are highlights thanks to MMAmania.com.
- I wouldn’t say it’s been the most exhausting lead-up to a fight. It reminds me of the Rampage lead-up. There was smack-talking, there was controversy and drama. He accused me of spying and I had people questioning my integrity. It was really important to me, people thinking I would cheat. That’s a real insult. If someone is calling fake or cocky, that’s nothing.
- I have no regrets.
- I’m a guy who has no problems with anybody in the UFC. When I go to events, I’m always laughing and having a good time. I would like to be able to be at a UFC event or a fighter summit and not be awkward in the same room as Rashad. We’re adults here. It’s not like I don’t know Rashad. To be good with him after the fight would be cool.
- My life hasn’t really changed at all really. I have the same coaches, the same teammates and I’m developing close relationships with my teammates and staff. I feel like I have family and they legitimately care about my well-being and want me to succeed. The only difference is more twitter followers.
- I’m not worried at all about Primetime showing my technique. I have tons of technique and I’m a big studier of footage. I learn what they’re go-to punches and combinations are. I figured it out with Shogun and figuring it out with Lyoto was hard but I did that too. The one thing about me is I throw a ton of stuff. We could send footage of me sparring every day and Rashad still couldn’t figure out what I am gonna do.
- I don’t regret that initial answer. I was so respectful in that interview and people haven’t seen it. I was speaking so highly of Rashad and the only part that made that show was when I said I’d fight Rashad if that’s what I had to do. I just wish people knew that whole story and the respect and loyalty I showed to him in that interview. Rashad took that part of me saying I’d fight him and I don’t regret what I said because that’s what I would have said to his face. I don’t regret anything and I’m grateful for a chance to fight Rashad. I’m striving for greatness. Rashad is obviously one of the toughest light heavyweights to ever play the game and to beat him is huge. Rampage said it was the best camp of his life and Lyoto brought in nine guys and I beat him. Everyone I fought has said this is the best camp of their lives. I hope Rashad is at his best because that’s the man I want to beat.
- Greg Jackson is a man who works extremely hard. He has so many fighters. I’m surprised he doesn’t get sick every day. One day he’s in Russia and Brazil. He caters to each and every fighter. There’s so many guys that he travels for that aren’t even in the UFC. Greg Jackson is a good man. He’s there for the whole team. He has a whole stable of fighters now.
- A gym like Jackson’s has nothing to do with the selfish.
- I have a goal of being sponsored by Nike for many, many years. Part of my strategy is to not be a billboard with Tapout and Musclepharm and stuff like that. I want to have a relationship with companies. Less is more for me. The UFC itself sponsored me. They think I’m a good company guy. They ask me to do anything and I do it. I never tell them no. I don’t think most champs are like that. That’s why the UFC decided to sponsor me. If any mainstream companies sponsor me after this one, they’ll let me go and that’s awesome.
- I don’t think my demeanor’s changed too much but I do get serious because there’s some serious allegations being thrown out about my head coach. There’s no reason to be so serious about everything. He gets caught up in the whole drama and that’s the game that we play. I feel good. I know I’m getting ready to win a fight and there’s no reason to be sad or stressed about anything.
- I will admit I told Rashad I was gonna finish him and he was gonna be my first highlight reel knockout.
- It adds more pressure (the Ali photoshoot) but I consider it fun. Ali had many flaws in the person that he was but I loved Muhammad Ali. I watched every interview he done. I’m a huge fan of Muhammad Ali but I don’t want to be him. I want to the best Jon Jones. I want to be better than Ali. That was the UFC’s idea, people on the outside looking at me in a positive regard. I think it’s awesome and what it does, for most young fighters it will get to their head, but for me, it motivated me and it empowers me to train harder. If I don’t become greater than Muhammad Ali, that’s my own fault. That’s why I train so hard.
- I think Gustafsson has really fast hands.
- I’ve been in fights like this before. What’s exhausting is I get tired of talking about it over and over again, Jon and Greg. I’m tired of talking about it. It’s to the point where I just want to fight. Everybody is talking about it and that’s the only part that bothers me. I’ve been talking about it for over a year. Man, let’s fight already.
- The best memory I had with Jon was we used to have a lot of fun training together and competing against each other. We’d be like, “let’s see how many takedowns we can get.” I miss that the most, going in and having fun or afterwards, going over different moves and set-ups.
- I don’t have any regrets. I feel like I’ve spoken from my heart. I don’t think I’ve violated anything in that sense. That’s one thing I always try where I don’t cross the line. I don’t think I’ve crossed the line and I’m pretty satisfied.
- After the fight’s over, the fight’s over. I don’t try to carry on any grudges. Will we be best friends? No, but there’s gonna be respect. We’ll leave it at that.
- Getting that opportunity promised to me has been a bit of a curse. That title being up there, number one contender, being the guy that’s supposed to fight for the belt, that’s more than anything, just wanting to get it over with.
- The whole backstory, it’s a different issue and an interesting one that people follow. That’s probably the only difference, just the emotional connection that was there beforehand.
- I’m gonna see what happens. I’m not gonna rush anything. I’m gonna be patient and whatever happens at that time happens. I’m not in no hurry.
- It’s a little bit of both. I really want to fight Jon so I’ll say that. It’s really hard because to be champion again is something I value as well. It’s kidn of like a toss-up.
- When it comes down to it, that interview was just a piece of everything that was kinda happening. Even leading up to that fight, every time someone asked him he’d say Rashad is not in his mind. He was so dismissive. He already knew what time it was. Who cares about that interview. It’s really about what was said before and how Jon really feels. Jon always wanted to fight me. He never wanted to be teammates. He came onto the team to learn how to fight me.
- The people around Jon at Jackson’s are my friends but I wouldn’t compromise their integrity by asking about him. I wouldn’t do that to them. That’s not what a friend does.
- I wouldn’t put myself in that position again. I wouldn’t put myself in a position with someone who could be a contender. The team is about Greg Jackson getting coach of the year award. That’s what it consists of. I would never put myself in that position again.
- That has nothing to do with what we’re talking about.
- If you wanna jump in the conversation, you’ve got to keep up, man.
- There’s no sense bringing in someone to emulate Jon’s style. He’s one of a kind.
- It feels good to be back on a regular fighting schedule. To be able to fight consistently is something I really need and like. Sitting around doing the stuff besides fighting is the hardest thing to do as a fighter because you’re doing nothing but thinking about fighting. You watch teammates and friends fight and you start thinking, “Am I still a fighter?” Fighting for me is theraputic. When I don’t have it. it feels like a piece of me is missing.
- I don’t think I’m at my peak yet. I think I’m approaching it.
- I learned little tricks here and there for the most part. It was just working together. I try to take something away from everybody I work with. I humble myself a lot. If I keep it quiet and I share. I try to humble myself to learn from somebody.
- I’ve divorced myself from that all together. I haven’t worked with Winklejohn since the Machida fight and with Greg Jackson, it’s been pretty much the same thing. From Thiago Silva to Rampage, i trained with Greg a total of five times. I was in Denver at the time and Greg came out. Having those guys against me, it’s gonna be whatever. They think they’ll know what I’m gonna do but it doesn’t matter to me.
- It’s more personal here. I think that’s why this one ranks above everybody else. I feel like with the whole connection with Greg, that brings a different type of edge with it and my relationship with Jon. That brings a different element to it but at the same time, it’s all the same. When you talk, it’s that much more you’ve got to back up.
Audio below thanks to MMAWeekly.com.