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Rashad Evans praises Jon Jones for not being ‘big fish in a small pond’ after JacksonWink split

Rashad Evans spoke about his former opponent and teammates.

UFC 145: Jon Jones vs Rashad Evans - Press Conference Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

JacksonWink and Jon Jones had a pretty public split and fallout, with the former UFC champion no longer welcome in his longtime gym after his latest arrest in 2021. Jones was forced to find other training, and according to his former JacksonWink teammate turned rival, that could end up being a very good thing for him.

Rashad Evans discussed Jones’ new training environment, praising him for “getting out of the box in Albuquerque,” where they both came up together.

“I do like him training with ‘Triple C,’ and i like it because he’s in a new environment and he’s being challenged with new training activities,” Evans said on ESPN (transcribed by MMA Mania). “Jiri Prochazka’s out there and a couple different training partners. He even trained with some high level Olympic wrestlers which is really going to bring his wrestling to another level.

“And it’s also going to add another element to the heavyweight game that he’s going to have to implement, being able to grapple. So I like him training there and getting out of the box in Albuquerque is not a bad thing at all. Sometimes you can be a big fish in a small pond and you gotta go out there and expand your horizons.”

With talks about a possible bout against Miocic, Evans believes it’s a better match up than the younger hard hitters at heavyweight.

“Stipe [Miocic] would be a great fight for [Jones] to come into,” Evans said. “I think that he can’t go in there with somebody — well, he can — but I would rather see him go in there against somebody who has been not as active as he is because If you go in there with a guy like Romanov and Tom Aspinall or one of those guys who has been active, it may be a problem for Jon Jones.

“Being in the Octagon after you haven’t been there for a long time, it does feel a little weird. So take some time to get used to it,” Evans said. “Going against somebody like Stipe who’s a little bit slower, who had those wars in there and [Jones] can capitalize off the damage he’s already has, I think that’ll be a good fight.”

Both former UFC light heavyweight champions Jones and Evans trained together for years under Jackson’s MMA, which eventually became JacksonWink. They also became bitter rivals for a time and fought each other in 2012, with Jones winning by decision.