By Sarah Newman:
As a huge UFC fight fan, I have seen many changes in the UFC. I have seen fighters come and go. I’ve seen bigger arenas, TV station changes, more programs like UFC Primetime and UFC tonight, and I’ve always liked the changes. Today, during the pre-press conference, we had a major change, and for the first time, I didn’t like it.
I didn’t like it at all. First, there was no Dana; it was hosted by Jon Anik. Secondly, there was just Jon Jones and Rashad Evans – none of the other fighters were there. As I thought about this, I realized I didn’t even know who else was fighting on this card. Normally, I’m excited about three other fights as well as the main event. Sometimes I could care less about the main event. But this main event has been so hyped it has taken away from everything else. Then, after all the hype, the press conference is boring. I hate to say that but it’s true. I have four pages of notes, all summing up to one verdict: the war is over and now it’s fight time. This is normally exciting but we still have three days to build the fight and they killed it.
Jon and Rashad both expressed they are tired of the storyline (at this point I almost feel like rehashing the storyline to build some excitement) and ready to just fight. Granted, this has been a year in the making and you can probably understand why they both are tired of telling the story again and again.
At most press conferences we hear a lot of smack talk and we get all pumped to see who is going to beat whom. Today, they showed each other respect. Jones said, “I am not going to even compete with Rashad on suits – Rashad is a wonderful dresser.” Rashad spoke about how Jon had changed from when he first met him, that he has become more confident and poised and that he has become a man. In all honesty, they almost had a funny banter. Is the UFC realizing that the smack talk has been over kill and trying to play to the true martial arts fan? (a topic which was covered since both fighters had such a different demeanor today)
Is the entertainment part of the fight game being played too much? Jones said that even though he’s never gone through a belt system or done training in a dojo, he’s trying hard to respect those fans and walk the line between that and entertainment. Rashad said, “In a fight, having the entertainment is key. It helps people pick a side when there is a rivalry. When people are complimentary of each other, it’s hard to root for one or the other.” He’s correct. If you think back to the Rashad vs. Phil Davis pre-fight conference, there was so much back and forth, I was more excited about that fight then I am this one.
One question asked was how Jones liked being compared to Ali and Michael Jordan – I liked his answer. “I have lots of feelings about it. First off, I am not the one saying those things about myself. So don’t get mad at him for the comparisons. But he is a fan of great athletes and it has made him look at what makes them great: their work ethic, their confidence and their mental attitude, which he hopes to follow.” This is all true, people. Talk about how arrogant Jon Jones is but the statements they use are ones made about him, not ones he makes. I think this fight will either shut the haters up (for a little while) or make them all feel justified in all their thoughts.
Jones also showed Rashad respect in saying, “Rashad’s always the underdog in every fight, which I don’t think is fair, but he always comes out a winner. I have to remember that I may be the favorite, but Rashad is always reliable for a win.” That’s a hell of a statement to make about your opponent three days before the fight. But it’s good to know Jones isn’t underestimating Rashad.
Even with the lack of excitement, I can’t wait for this fight, to see if they will be friends after a question that was asked multiple times. I go with Jones in the 3rd –TKO.Tags: featured, MMA NEWS, Strikeforce, strikeforce news, ufc news, UFC on FOX, UFC on FOX 2, ufc on fox 3, UFC on Fuel, UFC on FX