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Spying charge adds cat-and-mouse twist to Jones-Jackson UFC tussle

Jon Jones admits he knows everything there is to know about Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.

But despite the insinuations of his opponent, Jones says there is nothing nefarious about the acquisition of that information.

Jackson has repeatedly claimed Jones employed a spy to feed him information from Jackson’s training camp. Jones has called the accusation “ludicrous.”

“Why would I need to hear second-hand reports about Rampage’s camp? I’ve got 16 of his fights on my laptop right now and another 16 at home,” Jones said. “I’ve seen all of his fights, and he has not changed a thing since 2004. He’s very dangerous at what he does, but he’s added nothing at all as he goes through his career.”

Jones will get the chance to put his studying to use tonight when he makes the first defense of his Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight belt against Jackson, a former champion, in the main event of UFC 135 in Denver.

During a joint appearance with Jones on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” on Friday morning, Jackson revealed the identity of the alleged “spy,” an executive at MusclePharm who Jackson says was fired by the company last week for revealing secrets from his training camp to Jones’ people.

Jones took to Twitter afterward and posted, “Sucks some poor guy at musclepharm got fired over rampages paranoia.”

The “spygate” allegations were only one aspect of the verbal assault Jackson has waged against Jones since the fight was announced. He has particularly hammered away at Jones for being “cocky” and treating Jackson with a lack of respect when the two first met.

It all appears to be a ploy to get into Jones’ head and win the mental game.

Jackson has said the fact Jones is still complaining about the spying allegation is proof enough it was successful. It’s probably worth a try since nothing else has worked against Jones.

The 24-year-old is the youngest champion in UFC history and rarely has been tested in 13 professional fights, including during his only loss, by disqualification.

Jones was thought to be taking a major step up in competition when he fought Mauricio “Shogun” Rua for the title in April, but he completely outclassed the champion.

Jackson, 33, wasn’t impressed.

“The only person he really fought was Shogun, and (Rua) was coming off more than a year off,” Jackson said. “I’m not putting him up there (among the elites), personally.”

Oddsmakers clearly don’t share that view. Jones is more than a 5-to-1 favorite against the far more experienced Jackson.

The odds would be reversed if the fight were decided by trash-talking.

“Ultimately, I’m very, very aware of why I’m here,” Jones said. “I’m not here to show I’m a better talker, to show that I’m better at arguing, (to) show that I’m better at insulting. That’s not my mission. I’m strictly doing my job. My job isn’t to out-talk him.”

Jones hopes he can learn from the experience of taking Jackson’s barbs.

“I think I have some opponents in the future that will be big talkers as well, and this is just educating me and making me a better champion,” he said.

Josh Koscheck usually talks a big game, too, but he didn’t have much time to do so, having accepted his fight with Matt Hughes less than three weeks ago when Diego Sanchez pulled out because of injury.

Koscheck, who has been out since fracturing an orbital bone in a welterweight title bout loss to Georges St. Pierre in December, has been asking to fight the Hall of Famer for several years.

“Fighting Matt Hughes is a good comeback fight for me,” Koscheck said. “I think the fans deserved this fight a long time ago and now we’re getting the opportunity to do it.”

Also, lightweights Nate Diaz and Takanori Gomi will meet with each in need of a victory. Diaz has lost consecutive fights, and Gomi has lost two of three.

The main card goes live on pay per view at 6 p.m., with two fights airing live on Spike (Cable 29) at 5. The remainder of the undercard will stream live on Facebook.

Contact reporter Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.

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