Nearly a year after an ugly divorce with former student Rashad Evans came about, heralded trainer Greg Jackson has confirmed that he will prepare and ultimately corner Jon Jones for his upcoming grudge match against Evans in April.
Jones announced the news via his Twitter account this afternoon.
The confirmation comes just a couple of weeks after Jackson admitted for the first time that he was considering helping Jones after stating multiple times in the past that he would have no part of a fight between the two.
When the UFC returns to Japan for its first event in the country since December 2000, it will also be the first time that the promotion has brought an event since purchasing and then dismantling PRIDE Fighting Championships close to five years ago.
Japan was once the mecca of mixed martial arts and PRIDE was the biggest organiation, both in the "Land of the Rising Sun" and the world, as fans and fighters alike believed that most of the world's top fighters were fighting within.
Everyone but Dana White and the UFC of course. Even though White sees that the PRIDE brand still has value, he doesn't plan on bringing it back from the dead anytime soon:
"Do I think this is going to be a PRIDE event and 100,000 people are going to show up, and it's going to be (like that)?" White asked. "No, I don't think that. But I think that there is a fanbase there for the UFC. People keep asking me, 'Oh, will you play the PRIDE music? Will you do (this or that)?' No, this isn't PRIDE. It's the UFC. The UFC is coming to Japan, and what the people in Japan are going to see is what they see on television, if they're UFC fans."
"We're going to slowly try to build that market back up, and we'll see what happens," White said. "There's no pro wrestlers, and you're not going to see some 400-pound dude fighting a 100-pound dude. None of that stuff's going to happen. The UFC is going to go in there, and we have fans there already. Those fans are going to show up."
While a second chance for PRIDE would overjoy fans and likely become a profitable venture, White is making the right decision. MMA isn't what it used to be in Japan. DREAM is struggling to survive, K-1 is dead and Sengoku isn't coming back. Until the MMA market in Asia steadily improves, there's no reason to not run anymore than a show or two there per year.
Things were relatively tame for the most part, but you can feel the underlying hatred between Jon Jones and Rashad Evans is starting to seep through the cracks and that heated words are about to exchanged between the two in the months to come.
Jones, Evans and UFC President Dana White converged upon the media to formally announce Jones' next light heavyweight title defense at UFC 145, which will take place at the Phillips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia on April 21.
Full video of today's presser is after the jump.
Following his war of attrition with Mauricio "Shogun" Rua in November, Dan Henderson proclaimed that he wanted a title shot and that he was content to wait for one. Fast forward to today and it has been three months since Henderson last competed, with no sign of him returning as his next fight hasn't been booked.
Rumblings of a potential showdown with Jon Jones swirled last month, and may have prompted Henderson to continue to wait, but they were quickly put to rest after Rashad Evans dominated Phil Davis and forced UFC President Dana White to hand Evans a long-awaited and much-deserved crack at Jones.
Now White doesn't know what to do with "Hendo". Via MMA Junkie:
"He doesn't want to fight Machida," White said of Henderson. "He doesn't want to wait (either). He's going to have to wait. Who does he want to fight? I mean, I don't know what to do with Dan.
"Dan's either going to have to wait for Jones and Evans or wait for Silva – or fight somebody else. It's pretty simple."
Waiting for the winner of Jones and Evans isn't too much of a stretch as they are fighting in April after all, but their next appearance likely won't be until the fall and Henderson would have been out of action for close to a year at that point.
I'm not sure if that is such a good idea at his age. If a fight against Machida doesn't interest him, a bout against Davis most certainly wouldn't. A second meeting with Rampage probably would, but that would again have Henderson waiting until the summer.
UFC President Dana White had a lot to say following a successful debut on FUEL TV on Wednesday night, but it was welterweight contender Jake Ellenberger that finally broke out of his shell and suggested a rematch with interim champion Carlos Condit while Georges St. Pierre heals at last night's post-fight press conference.
Ellenberger was asked about the possibility of a second fight with Condit following his unanimous decision win over Diego Sanchez last night in a post-fight interview with Jon Anik. However, the Omaha native didn't say much, stating that he was unsure what was next.
The 26-year-old took on Condit in his UFC debut back in September 2009, dropping a razor-close split decision that saw Ellenberger nearly put Condit's lights out in the first round.
Despite rumors earlier this week that Rashad Evans would again be passed over for a shot at UFC light heavyweight champion and former teammate Jon Jones, it appears that "Suga" may get his chance after all.
In an appearance on the "Jim Rome Show" on Tuesday, White stated that if Evans were to defeat fellow top contender Phil Davis at the next "UFC on FOX" event on January 28, and come out of the bout injury-free, he would receive the next crack at Jones later this year.
“We’re working on it now," White said on the show. "We’re going to obviously see what happens in this Rashad fight at the end of the month. The next fight on Fox, Rashad is fighting Davis, so we’ll see what happens there. If Rashad wins, if Rashad comes out injury free, we’ll get the Jon ‘Bones’ Jones/Rashad Evans fight going.”
The Daily Recap is a collection of news and notes from around the web that will be posted at the end of each day. Bout signings, injury news and much more can all be found here.
— According to UFC President Dana White, the UFC will make its debut in New York before the end of the new year, guaranteed. "We're so close. It's going to happen, and I guarantee you it's going to happen this year. It's going to depend on when it happens, timing and everything else, but obviously, it would be nice to go in there with, probably, Jon Jones." [MMA Fight Corner]
— The first edition of the long-running reality show to not take place in the United States, "The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil" will likely air on FUEL TV and will debut on March 9 on its new home of FX. UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz will coach opposite former featherweight king Urijah Faber as they lead a group of lightweight fighters towards a six-figure UFC contract. [MMA Fighting]
"That's interesting. "I'm not sure what Fedor has planned. I haven't spoken to M-1. I know M-1 executive Steve Bash was in the audience tonight, but we haven't had that conversation yet."
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker left the door open for Fedor Emelianenko to potentially fight the winner of Strikeforce's heavyweight grand prix tournament finals (either Josh Barnett or Daniel Cormier) following the tourney's conclusion. Emelianenko is widely believed to remain under a promotional contract with Showtime despite being released by Strikeforce. Touch of gloves to MMA Junkie for the catch.
"Jon Jones called about four days ago and said 'okay let's go, I'm done with vacation. He said he wanted to take all this time off and then they were calling me four days ago saying he wants to fight as soon as possible. He's ready to go. What could end up happening is Dan Henderson fights Jon Jones first, and then that would be close to the time that Rashad fights. Or we see how things go with Rashad versus Phil Davis and Rashad fights him first."
UFC President Dana White tells ESPN Radio in Las Vegas via Yahoo! Sports that light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has just ended a brief respite following his recent title defense against Lyoto Machida and is looking to fight as soon as possible, leading the UFC to potentially skip over Rashad Evans once again and hand a title shot to former Strikeforce title holder Dan Henderson.
Strikeforce women's featherweight champion and top female pound-for-pound fighter Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos has tested positive for the anabolic steroid stanozolol and has been fined and suspended for one year according to the California State Athletic Commission.
The CSAC released a press release earlier today regarding the matter. Santos' positive test comes just weeks after she picked up her 11th straight win, a 16-second TKO of Hiroko Yamanaka at Strikeforce's latest event last month. That result has now been changed to a no-contest.
“Our primary concern is for the health and safety of fighters,” CSAC Executive Officer George Dodd stated in the release. “Anabolic agents and other banned substances put not only the users of those agents at risk, but their opponents as well. The commission simply will not tolerate their use.”