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Rashad Evans: 'I Don't Like Jon Jones'

Rashad EvansIt was inevitable. With two light heavyweight contenders squaring off at UFC 133, you knew somebody would have to ask Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans about the current UFC 205-pound champion, Jon Jones.

You also knew that, one way or another, Evans might have some strong feelings on his former training partner and teammate. Of course, that didn't mean he was in any hurry to express those feelings, or expand on them.

On Thursday's UFC 133 media call, Evans at first attempted to deflect the question by deferring to Ortiz and then, after Ortiz answered, claiming not to remember what the initial question was.

Eventually, however, his true feelings came out.

"I don't like Jon Jones," Evans said. "I'll just leave it at that."

This, from the man who Jones once described as a big brother figure who he'd never turn against. That changed after Jones said in an interview that he'd fight Evans if UFC president Dana White asked him to, and soon enough the two had a public rift that has left both men with very little fellow feeling for the other.

"I just don't like him," Evans said.

Ortiz, on the other hand, had a different take.

While it might seem bizarre to talk about him as a potential future challenger for Jones' title -- less than a month ago Ortiz was one loss away from being fired from the UFC -- now that Ortiz has stepped up and agreed to the short-notice bout with the former number one contender Evans, he could force himself into title discussion with a win in Philadelphia.

If Jones retains his title against "Rampage" Jackson at UFC 135 in September, that might possibly match the 24-year-old champ against the 36-year-old Ortiz in the near future.

"Jon Jones, I think he's an amazing champion," Ortiz said. "I think he's great, I hung out with him once in Vegas at the [UFC fighter] summit and I think he's a cool cat. As a competitor, he's fast, punches awkward, great wrestling ability. He's a big threat. That's why he's the world champion, and I have some work cut out for me. I'm very excited and challenged to do that, but before anybody I've got to fight Rashad."

It wasn't so long ago that Evans had the next crack at Jones all but sewn up, but an injury to the champion forced Evans to take a bout with Phil Davis in the interim, and an injury to Davis opened the door for Ortiz to step in.

And despite his own previously shaky standing in the UFC, Ortiz said, that puts the pressure to win squarely on Evans.

"It's his time to shine. All the pressure's on him, it's his time to shine. He's supposed to beat Tito Ortiz. I'm here to show why I am still here, and I've been here since 1997. I ain't going anywhere any time soon."

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