“I think that DC now is a better DC than the first time that Jon fought him. Also I think the layoff is not easy to come back from and Jon’s never really had to face this. Jon’s never really faced this layoff. So mentally going into the fight, there’s some things different. There’s some things different as far as USADA thing, and it just has a different feel. [Jones] has only been gone a year but things just change so fast and it’s hard to say what Jon is going to step into the cage. We’ve only seen one – the brave, audacious, amazing Jon Jones. We’ve never seen a Jon Jones that had to really contemplate any kind of technique, any kind of move, will he return and be that same free flowing fighter that’s made him one of the greatest fighters in UFC history? Mentally, coming into this fight, I think [Cormier] is in a different place. I’m a huge Jon Jones fan as far as his talent and everything in the Octagon, but I just worry that Jon under this new mindset, this new Jon Jones, is he going to still be able to go out there and do the things that we’ve seen him do so easily? At some point, people do start to show that they are human and things do affect them so I wonder what’s the real outcome to how he’s internalizing everything that’s happened in his personal life? I do believe he’s so dynamic, but will he return as that same dynamic fighter that we’ve come to know?”
-Rashad Evans questions Jon Jones into UFC 197 return, and explains why he thinks Daniel Cormier takes the victory in the rematch in an interview with FoxSports.com.
Penick’s Analysis: Evans has been on point in a lot of his predictions in recent years, but I think he’s a bit off the mark in his thinking here. I don’t see how Jones has to approach the rematch any differently; he didn’t lose the first fight. He beat Cormier at Cormier’s game in many respects, and though he’s been out a year it’s not as if he was sidelined with injury or anything there. Certainly there’s something to him potentially being affected by what his actions have cost him in this last year, but this is a return fight that plays very much into his favor. I don’t think anyone should be expecting him to be drastically different come April 23.
[Rashad Evans art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
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