Rashad Evans Still Open to Middleweight Opportunities, but Wants to Fight Jon Jones Again


  • Share on Tumblr
  • submit to reddit

05-Rashad-Evans-UFC145-preFormer UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans got back in the winner’s column by defeating MMA legend Dan Henderson via split-decision at UFC 161 on Saturday night.

In front of a sold-out crowd at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, the former Ultimate Fighter Season 2 winner battled the 42-year-old veteran in a three-round contest that saw Evans snap a back-to-back losing streak (the first of his nearly decade-long career).

After his losses to Jon Jones and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, at UFC 145 and UFC 156 respectively, Evans’ career was in a tailspin.  With his win over Henderson, he once again finds himself on the path gold, albeit with some reservations about his performance against the future Hall-of-Famer.

Coming off of two losses, it takes a little bit of a hit on your confidence,” said a contrite Evans at the UFC 161 post-fight press conference. “Trying to work back mentally to get your game where you want to, get your timing down, believing in your shot, believing in your punches, stuff like that, this wasn’t my best performance by far, but it’s something to start from.”

UFC president Dana White mirrored Evans’ sentiments, as he spoke about the importance of the fight.

“(It) was a good night for Rashad because Rashad needed to get his head back in the game physically, mentally, emotionally, everything,” said White.  “Obviously he looked good physically. He’s in the best shape I’ve ever seen him in. (He) came out and fought a tough guy in Dan Henderson.

“Tonight was a good confidence booster for him hopefully and he starts to let his hands go more. Hopefully tonight was a step in the right direction for him.”

In fact, Evans has finished just one opponent (a TKO victory over Tito Ortiz at UFC 133) since defeating Forrest Griffin via TKO for the light heavyweight title in late 2008.

It’s popular opinion that, even in victory, Evans has looked less than stellar since his brief championship run in the late 2000’s. His wins over Thiago Silva, Quinton Jackson, Phil Davis and even Dan Henderson left plenty to be desired, as not one of those fights have stuck in the collective conscious of MMA diehards.

In fairness to the 33-year-old veteran, the fight against Henderson did offer glimpses of greatness.  Evans managed flashes of wicked combination punching and slick head movement, but once again, he was unable to earn a stoppage victory – something that in the heavier ranks of the 205-pound division is expected from time to time.

Whether or not Evans has found his old form is largely irrelevant to the more immediate concern… winning.  With his win over Henderson, Evans now finds himself right back in the discussion for top-level competition.  And for this team “Blackzillian” member, quality fights is what he’s all about.

“There’s a lot of guys coming in new (at light heavyweight),” said Evans. “There’s a lot of guys that are pretty tough, so it doesn’t really matter who I fight next.”

Evans was questioned on Saturday night about a possible move to middleweight, and although that’s not something he rules out, Evans believes he still has unfinished business to take care of at 205 pounds.

“205 is my home. If an opportunity comes at me at 185 and it’s a good opportunity (I’d consider it), but for the most part, I feel good at 205,” proclaimed Evans, right before jumping to the topic of former teammate and current nemesis Jon Jones.

“It’s hard for me to leave the 205 weight class. I would love to get a shot at Jon Jones again,” he stated. “I would love to get back to where I was and where I can be as far as being spectacular every single fight, but the landscaping has changed. It’s tough.

“I’m gonna have to make some adjustments to my game if I’m gonna be dominant.”

view original article >>

Related News

  • 5 days ago
  • 14 views

The UFC announced today that the rematch between UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and No. 1 contender Alexander Gustafsson will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. more

  • 4 days ago
  • 19 views

In a case of life imitating a Mania thread, UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones sent his new challenger, Daniel Cormier, a direct message on Twitter. As the saying goes, we live in interesting times. Times when mixed martial arts (MMA) champions send small bursts of texts straight to their replacement opponents. Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones went with the new times, while replacement challenger Daniel Cormier -- who tonight was anointed the next N more

  • 4 days ago
  • 95 views

With friends like these... I know what some of you are thinking: Who cares what a WWE wrestler and Hollywood actor thinks? Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), apparently, as the world's leading mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion recently put "Hercules" on the cover of its latest magazine, along with an excerpt about his relationship with several prominent fighters (and one surprise prediction). From UFC.com: "I always have my eyes on the champions, specifically the heavyweight and light heavyw more

  • 27 days ago
  • 34 views

Former WEC Light heavyweight champion and UFC middleweight contender Brian Stann has made it clear where he stands on the Chael Sonnen situation. The criticism levelled at Chael Sonnen in the wake of his second failed drug test of 2014 just keeps on going. As if being forced into retirement, fired from his roles as an analyst for FOX and suffering widespread criticism from media and fans alike, one of Sonnen's co-analysts Brian Stann tweeted the below today: Adversity reveals true character, if more

  • 25 days ago
  • 36 views

"The Hammer" is headed back to the toolbox ... this time for good. Matt Hamill's retirement from mixed martial arts (MMA) ... take two. The longtime Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) veteran, who cut his teeth on season three of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) and gave Michael Bisping his first big rivalry, is calling it quits after a nagging injury has prevented him from getting back inside the cage. From his official Facebook page: "First and foremost, I would like to thank my most loyal fans fo more

  • 23 days ago
  • 14 views

The highly-anticipated light heavyweight championship rematch between Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson finally has a location. more

  • 3 days ago
  • 29 views

Who says UFC light heavyweight Daniel Cormier doesn’t love his fans? One of them, Russ Roman, a 29-year-old delivery driver for Domino’s, is learning firsthand. Filed under: Featured, Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos more

  • 27 days ago
  • 28 views

Chael Sonnen finally gets some good news. The former UFC middleweight and light heavyweight title challenger, who was released from the UFC and FOX Sports after testing positive for four illegal substances in two different drug tests, will still compete in a submission-only grappling match against Andre Galvao at Metamoris 4 in August. Metamoris president Ralek Gracie told MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani that Sonnen will headline the card despite the latest news. "Yes, he's on the card," Gracie tol more

  • 24 days ago
  • 98 views

Undefeated UFC light heavyweight contender Daniel Cormier has offered extremely high praise for UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman heading into his UFC 175 showdown with Lyoto Machida. In a promo on Fox Sports for UFC 175, which airs live on pay-per-view from Las Vegas on Saturday, "DC" states outright that Weidman is the best middleweight around and could be considered the best at 205 pounds. Here's the transcription, per MixedMartialArts.com: To be the man, you have to beat the man. Weidm more