- UFC 140
Machida can beat Jones, but I hope he doesn't - Rashad
Evans should have been the next man to fight Jones, but an extended hand problem means he will have to wait to settle a score with his former training partner. Instead it will be Machida, the man who took the belt away from Evans, who challenges for the title in Toronto - meaning Rashad has unfinished business with either man.
However, asked to pick which opponent he would like to fight next, Evans was definitive in his answer: "I'm always wanting to fight Jon, so I'm hoping he can pull through it," he told Fight Hype.
"It was disappointing because I wanted this fight so bad. I wanted to fight Jon really bad. It's one of those fights that's got so much more meaning to it than just a fight. Everything that went down at [Greg] Jackson's, and this is a fight I wanted to have not only from a personal aspect, but from a competitive aspect as well.
"I have tremendous respect for Jon as fighter and I really like to watch him fight. I enjoy the growth that I have seen him have as a fighter just from a short time. I'm kinda proud of Jones in one way, but in another way, I want to smash him up."
Jones is undefeated in his MMA career, other than a disqualification loss to Matt Hamill, and he has absolutely walked through two former champions in Mauricio Shogun Rua and Rampage Jackson. Evans, though, is fully aware that Jones bases his game on middleweight genius Anderson Silva, who just so happens to train with Machida.
"If anybody can give him trouble, I would think it would be Machida, and for a couple of reasons," Evans explained. "One reason is Machida's used to that kind of craftiness and movement because he trains with Anderson Silva, so he's used to seeing that. That's where Jon Jones got a lot of his style from is Anderson Silva. So Lyoto is used to training with the originator.
"One thing Jon Jones brings to the table that Anderson doesn't is the ability to take the fight to the ground. He brings that ground and pound and Jon is very good at that, so there are a couple of areas where Lyoto will have to watch out for Jon.
"But for the most part, if he can use his footwork and watch out for some of the tricks and not stay on the outside and watch like everyone else does... I think he could do pretty good in this fight."