Rashad Evans didn’t have time to hang his head after suffering his first loss ever in the UFC, a second round knockout at the hands of undefeated light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida. Immediately after dropping the title to “The Dragon”, Evans signed on to coach Season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights, which recently completed filming. Fighthype.com caught up with the busy Evans to reflect on a whirlwind couple of months and his upcoming bout with fellow TUF coach and former light heavyweight champion, Quintin “Rampage” Jackson.
When asked about his mental state after the Machida fight, Evans responded, “I just wanted to hide and not say anything, but the show actually helped me to get over it and helped me find the very thing that made me love fighting in the first place.”
The former All-American wrestler and TUF Season 2 champ feels that coaching has opened his eyes to his own flaws in the cage, noting that “it actually made me become a better fighter because coaching the guys made me have to realize every little thing that I do and all of my skill. And not only that, but I have to break down what I do to them and break down what they do to show them what they’re doing wrong, so coaching just opened up another game for me.”
Evans desire to return to the top is further fueled by his bad-blood with Rampage, which drew public attention when the two UFC former champs had a run-in at UFC 100, and has since escalated off-camera.
“It got challenging for both of us to keep our hands off of each other (laughing),” Evans admitted. “He don’t like me and I don’t like him, so it got really hard for me not to tee off on him and I’m sure he felt the same way.”
Evans remains confident that he has a distinct advantage over Rampage, who he considers to be a one-dimensional fighter that has fallen in love with his power as a boxer, stating, “he’s like Tyson after he got rid of Kevin Rooney. He just relied on his power because he knew he had it. Well that’s what Rampage is doing. He’s not as well-rounded as he was when he fought for Pride.”
One thing’s for sure – there will be plenty of fireworks as the two rivals square off as coaches on TUF Season 10 while preparing to battle it out in the octagon this December. The season, which premieres September 16th on Spike TV, also features former EliteXC star Kimbo Slice and a slew of ex-NFL heavyweights, who will be competing for the title of “The Next Ultimate Fighter” and a six-figure contract with the UFC.