There was a time, not all that long ago, when Rashad Evans and Jon Jones were two of the most bitter rivals in MMA. Their rivalry came to a boil in a five-round title fight at UFC 145 in 2012, which Jones won by unanimous decision.
Since then, Jones and Evans have put their animosity behind them. In fact, Evans actually has some very high praise for his former rival and opponent. He says Jones is the best fighter of all time.
“Without a doubt, Jon Jones [is the best I’ve faced],” Rashad Evans told TMZ (transcript via LowKickMMA). “When it comes down to it, I think that Jon Jones is the best in history. Apart from his troubles outside the cage and things like that — when he’s inside the cage, he’s dynamic. He’s got some skill. But, I would say technically speaking, he’s probably the best fighter.
“When you fight guys that good, you feel like after the fight is over, there’s another level that I need to get to,” Evans added. “You don’t feel like, ‘aw man, I had a bad day.’ You just feel, ‘man, I need to get to another level to be able to beat this guy.’”
It was recently announced that Rashad Evans will be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame this July, during International Fight Week. While it’s not a certainty, it seems more than likely that Jon Jones will join him in this rank when his career draws to a close.
Jon Jones is scheduled to return to the Octagon at UFC 239 on July 6, when he will attempt to defend his title opposite dangerous Brazilian knockout artist Thiago Santos.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 5/30/2019.