Even though it was “Suga” Rashad Evans that solidified his top contender moniker on Saturday night, UFC light heavyweight king Jon Jones (Pictured) is the one that feels like a kid in a candy store. After waiting nearly a year to get his hands on his friend-turned-foe, Jones has found new life knowing their showdown is just around the UFC 145 corner.
“I’m so pumped up right now, I got goose bumps everywhere,” Jones stated seconds after Evans’ victory. “I feel so alive when I know who I’m fighting next. I have a new mission, I have a new purpose. Fighting’s my life. It’s my livelihood and I just feel so good right now.
“I’m a very happy man right now. I’m excited to retain my title on April 21st in the ATL.”
The grudge match has been a long time coming for the 205-pounders. A hand injury suffered by Jones nixed their initial encounter at UFC 133, then Evans had his right hand surgically-repaired last fall and couldn’t answer the bell for UFC 140.
The former teammates have exchanged plenty of insults throughout that time, and both seem anxious to put each other in their rear-view mirrors. For “Bones'” part, he admits that facing his nemesis will bring out the very best in him.
“I’m so excited about fighting Rashad. I can’t wait to get past this chapter in career,” Jones added. “I’ve been calling him the antagonist in my career because of all the hype and all the drama.
“I try to look at it as, no fight is a big fight. Not to fight people’s names, but to fight people’s bodies. But I think I’m a little bit more emotionally attached to this fight and it’s gonna drive me to train harder than I have ever imagined.”
Jones is confirmed to headline UFC 145 inside Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. Barring any setbacks, Evans will stand opposite the youngest champion in UFC history on April 21st.