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UFC:

Rashad Evans: ‘Jon Jones imitates me’

Jones and Evans continue arguing with UFC 145 a week away

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Sam Morris

Rashad Evans makes an entrance to the octagon before his light heavyweight fight with Thiago Silva at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in this file photo.

UFC 145

How much of a chance do you give Rashad Evans to upset Jon Jones at UFC 145?
No way Jones will lose — 29.3%
Evans will win — 25.7%
It would take a miracle — 25.2%
It's a toss-up — 19.8%

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Note: This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Rashad Evans played no role in molding or inspiring anything UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones does in the octagon.

That’s what Jones will tell anyone who asks. Evans can hardly believe it.

Fingerprints of his influence are all over Jones’ style, according to Evans, and visible from the moment his former training partner enters an arena.

“Look at the way Jon comes into the cage,” Evans notes. “The way he crawls into the cage before the fight, how he’s crouched down? He got that from me.”

Evans (17-1-1 MMA, 12-1-1 UFC) said all of the bits and pieces Jones (15-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC) learned from him while the two trained together would contribute to the 24-year old’s undoing when they meet next week at UFC 145 in Atlanta.

Evans can recall plenty of instances when he’s watched his ex-teammate and noticed traces of things they worked on together when Jones was still trying to build on his raw talent.

“He imitates people,” Evans said. “That’s what he does. He got stuff from me; and a lot of his stuff he got from Anderson Silva. If you watch Anderson Silva, you can see a lot of where Jon’s game came from.”

Jones believes Evans is making claims like those to insult him. The champion insists he’s not bothered by Evans’ words, which he says are almost entirely untrue.

“Rashad never made me better,” Jones said. “My coaches, Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn, made me better. Rashad is painting this image of it, but people don’t know anything when it comes to the real situation.

“I look at Rashad as being one of my toughest challenges, but it has nothing to do with our history.”

To Evans, it has everything to do with their history. The former champion got a unique glimpse at Jones by practicing with him.

None of Jones’ opponents have come close to solving him, but none of them had the opportunity to work with him previously. Despite the resentful ending to their relationship, Evans said training with Jones was an invaluable experience.

“He was always very good at thinking outside of the box,” Evans explained. “He was like a little kid. You could see him thinking about something and coming up with something clever. He was really good at that. I loved feeding off his energy.”

Jones has no such compliments to reciprocate.

“We trained together a few times,” Jones said, “but we’re strangers in many ways.”

Evans admits Jones had a world of talent before the two ever trained together. Jones was always destined for a great future in fighting.

But Evans feels he at least helped Jones a little bit in reaching his potential.

“He can’t deny what I’ve said about him,” Evans said. “I’ll look into his eyes and tell him everything. I’ll tell him he’s fake. I won’t hold any punches.”

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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