Jon "Bones" Jones and Rashad Evans, teammates and training partners at Greg Jackson's MMA in New Mexico, have always had kind words for another. They've called each other their "brother" on a number of occasions and had previously said they'd never fight one another.
How quickly things change when there's a title shot involved.
Evans was supposed to fight Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC 128 in Newark on March 19, but a knee injury derailed him. Jones slid into Evans' spot after he beat Ryan Bader at UFC 126 in February.
On Wednesday's UFC 128 conference call, Jones brought a new approach.
"With all due respect to you as a reporter – and I want to make it clear to all the other reporters – but I absolutely hate when people mention Rashad Evans, especially throughout this training camp," Jones said.
"He's a friend of mine, but I'm fighting Mauricio 'Shogun,' one of the best fighters that's been around for a long time, and for people to even be mentioning Rashad Evans right now, I think it's ludicrous.
"Rashad is not in my mind, he's not in my being. He has absolutely zero to do with my heart and who I am right now. Right now it's me versus Jon Jones, and I'm beating all the weakness out of myself, beating all the give-up out of myself. I'm beating the lack of cardio, I'm beating the lack of confidence – any sign of weakness that's in my heart, I'm getting rid of it. The fact that people are bringing [up] Rashad, it almost angers me. This guy has nothing to do with Shogun, and I think from here on out I won't even answer a question about Rashad."
Whoa. Pressure getting to the 23-year-old fighter from upstate New York?