Former UFC Light Heavyweight champion Rashad Evans got a ton of criticism after his lackluster decision loss to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at February’s UFC 156. Many, including UFC president Dana White, questioned Evans’ true desire to stay in the ever-evolving fight game.
Evans began to silence his critics by defeating former Pride FC champion Dan Henderson via decision at UFC 161, and now he’s apparently rejuvenated and ready to make another run at the title. He recently spoke with Bleacher Report to detail his plans, which largely include a rematch with former friend and training partner, current UFC Light heavyweight champion Jon Jones:
“I'm not afraid to fight Jones. I think that I can beat Jones," Evans said. "It's not something like 'oh Jones is at 205 maybe I should move weight classes that way I can get a belt.' Hell no, I want to fight Jones. I would love to have a few more rounds with Jon," Evans said. "Jon is a fighter, he's a great fighter, one of the best I've ever seen, one of the best I've ever competed against. I'd like to challenge myself to get a chance to fight him, it would be amazing. I know for sure, for a fact, this time if I fight him, I won't be walking away with a loss."
It’s highly debatable if Evans could fare better in a rematch against Jones than in he did in their UFC 145 bout, where Evans went the distance against “Bones,” but never really had the champ in any real danger. It’s refreshing to hear him have his mind refocused on fighting, because there’s no doubt that when he’s on, Evans is one of the best fighters on the face of the planet.
He’s got fast hands, a good team of coaches around him, and high-level wrestling, but will that add ever add up to a victory over the dominant champion Jones? Only time will tell, but if “Suga” is truly ready to take on the best 205 lb’ers, he may find himself with a rematch against Jones in the near future. Can he do the improbable and regain the belt?