Några av de bästa utövarna inom sporten MMA finns i UFC’s lätt tungviktsdivision, Chuck Lidell, Randy Couture och Tito Ortiz för att nämna några. Och många är vi som kommer ihåg episka matcher som Lidells andra match mot Ortiz på UFC 66 eller när Jon Jones tog bältet från dåvarande mästaren ”Shogun” Rua och blev den yngsta någonsin att vinna en titel på bara 23 år.
– The light heavyweight division has always been a special weight class in the UFC and the Jon Jones vs Rashad Evans match could be the biggest fight at 205lbs in years, säger UFCs VD Dana White i ett pressmeddelande. The last time we had a 205lbs title fight with this much emotion and excitement around it was the second Chuck Liddell vs Tito Ortiz fight in December of 2006. Jon Jones is a freak of nature in mixed martial arts. Here’s a guy who got into the UFC after only a couple of years of training, came right out and started beating top guys using spinning elbows and all these other crazy moves, and he then wins the UFC title at only 23 years old. Jones is already on his way to being one of the best fighters to ever hold the UFC light heavyweight belt, which is phenomenal if you look at the killers who’ve held this belt. But anyone who counts Rashad Evans out of this fight is out of their mind. Look at what he has done: he won the Ultimate Fighter as a heavyweight, then not only beat – but stopped – champions like Tito Ortiz, Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin, and also beat top contenders like Michael Bisping, “Rampage” Jackson, and Phil Davis.
Nu är Jones på tapeten igen då han på lördag ska försvara bältet mot Rashad Evans under UFC 145. Det är matchen alla pratar om och matchen som fansen längtat efter. En match mellan två gamla träningskompisar och det kommer bli en del känslor. I samband med det här så har alla de forna titelhållarna passat på att säga sin mening om den kommande matchen.
“Shogun” Rua, titelhållare från den 8 maj 2010 till den 19 mars 2011
– They are two very smart, strategic athletes. Both of them fight thinking of their opponent’s strengths and weaknesses and think about how to fight the best possible fight to win. But I think Jon Jones has an advantage, since he is very hard to reach. He is not only long (limbed) but also fast and he can react very quickly, I know this. So, I think it’s going to be Jones’ match. However, let’s not forget Rashad is also very strategic. I believe Rashad will have a good gameplan and I am very interested to see what he will try to do in this fight.
“Rampage” Jackson, titelhållare från den 26 maj 2007 till den 5 juli 2008
– Rashad has to go for it right from the start, for real. Rashad can’t play on the outside, you can’t fight no Jon Jones on the outside, believe me. Rashad is fast and can surprise you. He surprised me by faking a takedown and hitting me with a right hand which kinda stunned me. I think he can do that to Jon Jones, but he has to do it right away because the more time you give Jones, the harder it is to set him up for a punch. I think Jon Jones will win, but I think Rashad has a chance.
Chuck Liddell, titelhållare från den 16 april 2005 till den 26 maj 2007
– Everyone is different but, I think, for most fighters getting into the Octagon with someone they don’t like is a great motivation in training. Every time you are tired or holding a little back, you think about losing to this guy you can’t stand and it helps you give 100%. That’s how I was with Tito, I couldn’t stand the idea of losing to him and so I trained harder.
– I’d love to know who really got the best of it when these guys trained together. You get a feeling for someone when you spar with them. That’s why I was so confident against Tito; I’d beat him up standing, wrestling and at BJJ when we trained together years before out fights and I knew I was in his head because of that. Listening to Rashad, it seems from watching the Primetime show that he feels he’s in Jon’s head a little. He sounds very confident and I think that’s based on experiences in the gym. I’m glad he is confident, because that’s something you have to have against Jones. If you don’t go after Jon you are in for a bad night.
Randy Couture, titelhållare två gånger, först från den 6 juni 2003 till januari 31 2004 och sen mellan den 21 augusti, 2004 till den 16 april 2005
– I think it is going to be very interesting, Rashad has the speed and skills to win. Rashad has to avoid his propensity for standing up and just striking, which he has done in the past. He can’t just strike with Jones; if he does he will lose because Jon has more tools in the toolbox. Rashad has to take Jones down, not just once or twice but every single time he has any opportunity. If Jones is worried about getting taken down, that’s when Rashad can put his hands on him and do some damage. But he has to keep Jon guessing if it is a takedown or a strike that’s coming.
– I think Jones is super-talented and he is clearly getting better in each fight. He could turn into a very special type of champion. He poses some very unique problems in the Octagon – and so far no one has solved too many of them. I think this is a huge fight for the division. “Bones” Jones is very hot right now and with the personalities and the back story, it all hypes this up into a very interesting fight.
Tito Ortiz, titelhållare från den 14 april 2000 till den 26 september 2003
– Jones is looking very good. But Rashad is fast, man, and once he hurts you he’s on you. I’d like to see Rashad use his wrestling and takedowns and really mix it up. I think it will be a great fight.