Evans Dismisses Silva Injury Rumors


Rashad Evans said he’s chosen not to buy into the rumors that his Jan. 2 opponent Thiago Silva is injured.

Silva, who faces Evans at UFC 108 on Jan. 2 in Las Vegas, was said to have strained his ankle in training but was coaxed to stay on the injury-laden card by the promotion for additional compensation. Silva and his American Top Team camp have denied the rumors.

Evans, a former light heavyweight champion and recent “Ultimate Fighter” coach, said he does his best to avoid Internet discussion that could cause his mind to wander from his objective.

“I’m not going to put in my mind that, ‘Oh, he’s hurt, so I’m going to go after him,’” Evans said Tuesday during a media teleconference call. “I’m just happy that he is healthy and that we are going to fight. Unless I get a call from Dana (White) or Joe Silva, I try not to pay attention to what’s happening and they didn’t call me, so I was like, ‘Alright, everything must be just a rumor.’”

Silva, 27, who rebounded from a first-round knockout loss to champion Lyoto Machida last January by stopping Evans’ teammate Keith Jardine seven months later, couldn’t answer how or where the rumors originated.

“I was completely surprised by it,” said Silva through his translator. “I don’t know how this came out. This completely (makes) no sense. This is one of the stories that came out of nowhere. There was nothing wrong with me. I’m completely healthy. I’m ready to fight. We can’t understand how this thing came up.”

Likewise, Evans, who turned 30 in September, said he is also shelving his ill will toward nemesis Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, who dropped out of a high-profile December bout against Evans to pursue a movie role.

“My focus is on Thiago so much. I don’t want to overlook him, not even a little bit,” said Evans. “A lot of people wonder about Rampage, Rampage, but Rampage don’t mean nothing if I can’t beat Thiago.

“(It was) a long to-do with Rampage, a lot of verbal intercourse that never really amounted to anything,” continued Evans. “I’m ready to get back in there and get a fight in there.”

More from Evans:

On fighting around the holidays: “Last Christmas, I was sitting in the hotel at the MGM getting ready to fight Forrest Griffin, so it’s the second Christmas in a row. I think I got over the initial sting of not being able to be with my family on Christmas, so I think I’m good for this Christmas.”

On trusting himself more: “I think one of the things that happens is you get to a certain point, you’re the champion, and everybody thinks they can add to your game, help you out. Sometimes they can, but sometimes it just gets a little bit overwhelming and distracting when you have too many people in your ear telling you do this and do that when essentially, you pretty much know what to do.”

On staying focused: “I’ve made it a point not to get distracted on what I want to do because Thiago is a very hungry fighter and every time I find myself drifting away from the person I got to fight, I just watch what I say and do what I’m supposed to do and then it just gets me motivated all over again.”

On rebounding from the Machida loss: “For the most part, I’m just a lot more confident in my game plan and my strategy going into this fight. I think I’m a bit sharper than I was, but it all remains to be seen. You can feel one way in practice and get out there and totally, you know, in the fight, look like crap. It’s all about execution. That’s what I’m focusing on -- just going out there to execute.”

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