Former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans has, for the second time, seen his impending title shot disappear.
First, he was to take on Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in a bout which he waited several months on the shelf to ensure that he got, before ultimately blowing out his knee at the eleventh hour. The drama which came about once his young teammate, Jonny “Bones” Jones, stepped up to take the shot in his place, paved the way for their title fight once Jones took the belt from Rua. Another wrench was thrown in the gears though, when it was revealed that Jones would be taking time off to address a long-nagging hand injury.
With that, Evans is now scheduled to face light heavyweight up-and-comer Phil Davis later this summer; “Suga” recently spoke about that fight and why he’s done chasing the title with FightersOnly.com.
“I am a bit disappointed to be honest but I am at the point now where I just want to fight again,” Evans responded when asked if was disappointed at not being able to settle his beef with Jones in a title fight. “I was training really hard and getting back into shape and rehabbing my knee to come back 100 per cent. I was in the training mindset and looking to go out there and prove myself again, to show the world that I am one of the best fighters in the 205lbs. division.”
Just because he wasn’t thrilled to hear that he would no longer be fighting for the title doesn’t mean that Evans isn’t excited by the prospect of facing Davis, whom many have pegged as being one of the few men who will give Jones a run for his money.
“…it’s a very interesting fight,” said Evans. “Phil Davis is not a fight that you would get and take as a fight to shake off ring rust. The kid is a serious threat. Actually I was with Phil in Las Vegas a few months ago and I was joking around telling him ‘I’ve got my eye on you.’ I am a Phil Davis fan, I really like Phil Davis a lot. Every time he fights I am usually rooting for him, coming from a wrestling background and I have watched his steady progression. You know, I was watching Phil Davis when he first started, I watched his MMA debut and I have watched him just grow and grow as a fighter and watched his confidence grow.
“I am very excited to be getting in there with an up-and-coming fighter like this.”
To those who believe that Davis is out of his depth against the more experienced Evans, “Suga” says that you can sleep on “Mr. Wonderful,” but that he certainly won’t.
“Well, all this about who is at what level — it all gets decided in the cage,” he said. “I can proclaim to be at a higher level and then he goes out there and lands the right punch, does something right, all that goes out the window. You know, in order to be somebody you have to beat somebody and he is now in a prime position to go in there and make a name off me. I can’t let that happen, I have to go in there and fight as if this is my title fight because to be honest, I have been out for such a long time that I am hungry to fight again.
“I want to fight again. I am done chasing the belt, I am gonna let the belt chase me. By that I mean I am going to go out there and string together some wins and I am gonna go out there and fight my heart out.”
The two are set to face off at UFC 133, which is going down on August 6 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.