Former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans has come full circle with The Ultimate Fighter. Evans won season two of the series as a heavyweight, and now is coaching on the highest rated season to date. Evans recently talked to FanHouse about the differences between his two stints on the hit show.
“The guys this season are better athletes — they’re bigger, stronger, more explosive in the gym,” Evans admitted. “But I think my season, we were technically superior fighters.”
Some notable fighters who emerged from season two, which featured Matt Hughes and Rich Franklin as the coaches, include UFC stars Joe Stevenson and Keith Jardine. Evans stated that he was happy to have had Franklin as a coach and agreed with his coaching style.
“Hughes trained his guys too hard and wore them out,” Evans noted. “Rich Franklin was an excellent coach because he knew that when you’re coaching guys, you should ask them how they’re feeling. Especially heavyweights — they can’t jump around like welterweights can or else their joints are going to break down. I was very conscious that heavyweights are fragile in training.”
As for being a contestant or serving as a coach, Evans prefers the latter.
“I got more out of coaching because I had the previous experience fighting,” Evans stated. “I knew what I wished I had — I knew what it was to be the guy who’s just trying to make it and hoping to get instruction from a professional fighter, and I tried to give these guys the coaching I wanted when I was in their shoes.”
Evans was able to share his expertise with his friend James McSweeney, whom he coaches on this season of the show. However, the former light heavyweight champion was not impressed by McSweeney’s win over Wes Shivers on last week’s episode, stating that his friend needs to fight “with more consistency and a greater sense of urgency.” But Evans still has time to train his friend, as McSweeney beat Shivers by decision after two rounds of fighting.
The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights airs Wednesday nights on Spike. The next episode features YouTube fighting sensation Kimbo Slice facing former IFL Heavyweight champion Roy Nelson.