Staff Photo: John Bohn Ultimate Fighting Championship 146 fighter Rashad Evans takes part in a press conference in Atlanta on Thursday. Rashad will fight Jon Jones in Atlanta during April.
ATLANTA -- Rashad Evans had one of the biggest wins of his Ultimate Fighting Championship career in Atlanta more than three years ago.
Evans is hoping for a similar outcome when he returns to the Peach State in April.
Philips Arena will host the UFC 145 on April 21 where Evans will fight light heavyweight champion Jon "Bones" Jones for the title.
"Of course I'm coming to play the spoiler," Evans said during a press conference Thursday. "Anybody can lose any given day. He's going to find that out."
The last time Evans was in Atlanta, he delivered a knockout punch to UFC legend Chuck Liddell in the second round. The win propelled Evans to stardom, setting him up for a title fight with Georgia native Forrest Griffin. Evans knocked out Griffin for the light heavyweight title. He lost the belt in his next fight, a knockout by Lyoto Machida.
Since then Evans (17-1-1) has been climbing his way up the ladder for another title shot. He's won his last four fights, including victories over former champions Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Tito Ortiz.
Evans, 32, will face one of the UFC's top young stars in the 24-year-old Jones.
Since breaking into the UFC in 2008, Jones (15-1) has only one loss, a disqualification for an illegal move. He's won his last six fights, including victories over former champs Mauricio Rua, Jackson and Machida.
"I think they are both hardcore competitors. What this kid (Jones) has accomplished over the last year is phenomenal and it's unbelievable," UFC President Dana White said. "Rashad with what he's accomplished since coming off The Ultimate Fighter, these are two of the best guys in the world and this is a very interesting fight. I love the fact that they've trained together and they were close."
The duo have quite a history with one another as former training partners. Jones got his title shot last year when Evan had to pull out of the fight with Rua. Jones won by TKO and the Evans-Jones relationship hasn't been the same since then.
This is the UFC's fourth trip to Georgia and second to Atlanta. It last came to Atlanta in 2008 for UFC 88 on a card that also featured wins by Rich Franklin and Dan Henderson.
"It was a very successful event the first time. This is a huge market for us," White said.
"We travel all over the world to these new markets, but it was time to come back to Atlanta. We wanted to bring a big fight back. Rashad did pretty well last time he was here."
Other fights scheduled to take place include Rory MacDonald vs. Che Mills, Brendan Schaub vs. Ben Rothwell, Mark Bocek vs. Matt Wiman, Miguel Angel Torres vs. Michael McDonald, Keith Wisniewski vs. Chris Clements and Marcus Brimage vs. Maximo Blanco.
White said it was a possibility that Georgia native Griffin may fight former UFC champion Tito Ortiz on the card.
"We'll see what happens," he said.
Tickets for UFC 145 go on sale today at 10 a.m. through Ticketmaster or the Philips Arena box office.