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Light Heavyweight Champ Rashad Evans Comments On UFC 97

“I’ve been out there and felt like not even fighting,” says UFC Light Heavyweight champion Rashad Evans in an interview with MMAWeekly, referring to last Saturday’s bout between Anderson Silva and Thales Leites. The main event between Silva and Leites has been criticized as lackluster, especially in regards to Anderson Silva’s performance.

Evans, 13-0-1 , commented on Friday about how he felt in regards to the both Leites and Silva’s performance. Of course, many have also placed plenty of blame on the passive performance of the challenger, Thales Leites. “As a challenger, you’ve gotta be hungry enough to get after it, that’s first and foremost,” commented Evans, responding to questions about Leites lack of aggression during the bout. The light heavyweight champ knows what it is like to have to rise to the task of challenging greatness, as Rashad did in his battle with Chuck Liddell at UFC 88.

But Evans thinks Anderson Silva has lost that hunger.

“He don’t have that dog in him, that hunch on his shoulder like when he first came into the UFC…I think he’s missing that attitude that he had. I don’t know if he’s bored, or whatever the case may be, but he just don’t have that same dog in him.”

And what of Liddell, whom many UFC fans have most likely seen fight for the last time?

Evans feels Liddell is finished, something he says was hurtful to watch. “It’s so hard to see somebody like Chuck Liddell go out like that because, no matter what, you got love for Chuck Liddell. Any fight fan, you’ve got love for Chuck Liddell. But seeing him like that, it was painful to see,” in regards to Liddell’s most recent one round knockout loss to Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.

“I’m sure Chuck is like, ‘Damn, I still got it.’ I’m sure he feels like that, but his reactions are really bad. He has really bad reaction time,” said the champ.

Evans will go on to face 14-0 Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida on May 23 at UFC 98. He will find no such “bad reaction time” in Machida, who is known for the exact opposite.

Training with UFC greats Georges St-Pierre and Keith “The Dean of Mean” Jardine at Jackson’s Submission Fighting, Evans has learned a philosophy that he feels will carry him on to greatness inside the octagon.

“You need to make an example of him,” Rashad says his trainer told him before his bout with Liddell. “That’s a very powerful statement. That way, people don’t want to fight you. They’d rather move to another weight class to have a title shot. That’s the kind of fear you should put into somebody as a champion.”

With an explosive win over Machida on May 23, Evans may perhaps send a ripple of fear throughout the division.

For the full interview with MMAWeekly, click here.