With Jones vs. Evans set, will other MMA teammates face off?

nullAs impressive a win as Jon “Bones” Jones had at UFC 128 over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua to win the UFC Light Heavyweight title, the victory became somewhat overshadowed by the drama between Jones and former teammate Rashad Evans.

Evans was originally scheduled to fight Rua for the title but a knee injury six weeks before the fight forced the UFC to find a replacement—Jones. As the fight drew closer the speculation as to whether Jones and Evans would even fight each other if Jones won the title started to pick up. Things were said by both parties and ultimately, the end result is that Evans is now leaving Team Jackson to pursue a title fight with Jones leaving plenty of people with a bad taste in their mouths. Team Jackson is run by renowned trainer, Greg Jackson.

The fight will no doubt be a big draw for the UFC as there will certainly be plenty of mud slinging going on in the weeks leading up to the bout. This will be one of the first, in what I think the UFC hopes will be many, fights featuring guys who either have or currently train together.

Here are a few other intriguing fights that could possibly shape up one day or another between training partners:

Josh Koscheck vs. Jon Fitch: This one is pretty obvious as there has been some clamor about it for a while now. Both are UFC welterweights and among the top in the division and both train at American Kickboxing Academy. Though the fight seems like a no-brainer, the two have been adamant about not competing. Fitch even went as far as to say he would move up to middleweight if Koscheck had beaten Georges St. Pierre at UFC 124 last December. Koscheck is still out for a few months due to a broken orbital bone and Fitch just pulled out of his scheduled rematch with B.J. Penn due to an injury. Both men are going to be looking for a marquee match come this fall, and the only option may be with each other.

Urijah Faber vs. Joseph Benavidez: It would be hard to argue that both Faber and Benavidez are two of the top five bantamweights in the entire world—the dilemma is they both train at Team Alpha Male in Sacramento. This wasn’t an issue for years as Faber fought at featherweight and was a dominant champion, but a recent loss to Jose Aldo brought Faber down to 135 pounds where Benavidez had been a top contender. Faber will be fighting Dominick Cruz for the UFC bantamweight title at UFC 132 and if he wins, it presents a problem for Benavidez, who is still pursuing his dream of a title. Would these two forgo friendship to slug it out for a title, or will they also vow to never face off?

Anderson Silva vs. Lyoto Machida: These two don’t always train together but they are part of the power of the Blackhouse Gym, which includes many of the top Brazilian fighters in all of MMA. These two have such unique and distinct styles so seeing how the other would approach the fight with the other would be interesting enough. There was a time where Machida was considered nearly unbeatable but that time has past. Still, his style is very difficult to handle and Silva would be forced to be an aggressor as opposed to a counter striker. Both have sworn to never fight the other and they consider themselves brothers, so don’t look for this fight any time soon.

Nick Diaz vs. Jake Shields: Another great welterweight matchup could be a battle of two Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu camp fighters. Diaz and Shields are amongst the top submission fighters in all of MMA. Diaz shows better striking than his teammate but Shields may have better wrestling skills. Both of these guys fight with a lot of pride so a potential fight between the two could happen someday. Shields is fighting for the UFC welterweight title in April and Diaz is the Strikeforce welterweight champion. With Zuffa purchasing Strikeforce, could a potential unification bout setup a matchup between these two?


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