Rashad Evans went through the same strange emotions that many of us did when Tito Ortiz unexpectedly finished Ryan Bader in the first round at UFC 133. He was actually “happy for him.” Little did Rashad know at the time though that he would end up facing Tito in a few weeks, and as he explained to MMA Fighting’s Mike Chiappetta, that feeling quickly changed from rooting for Tito to wanting to “smash” him.
“I feel right now honestly, not to be disrespectful, but I don’t think there’s anybody who could beat me, so I didn’t care who they put in front of me. I’ve had a lot more experience since then. I’ve been in a lot of big fights, had a lot of success, and that says it all. For him, he’s been on a rocky road. He’s had to go down a path he never walked before. Losing all those times in a row, all that heartbreak, stuff like that. You never know how that hurts someone’s mentality… Coming off this win, it’s looking like he’s got a little fire underneath him. He’s moving in the right direction, so right now is the perfect chance to fight him again… If he wants to fight, I appreciate him taking the fight, but I’m going to smash him. I’ve been training so long, I just want to fight somebody.”
If their first meeting was any indication, it won’t be an “easy” win Rashad, but if he pulls off the victory, he’s right back at the front of the line waiting to take on either Jon Jones or Rampage Jackson for the UFC light heavyweight championship. Still, Rashad isn’t convinced that he’ll actually get the title shot. As he told Pro MMA Radio’s Larry Pepe earlier this week, that opportunity can be taken away as quickly as it was given. Transcription via Cage Potato:
“I haven’t though that far ahead, you know what I mean? I thought I was the number one contender last time, you know what I’m sayin’? The number one contender fights for the belt and I definitely didn’t do that,” he said. “I’m sick of these labels whose supposed to be whatever. When it comes down to it it’s all up to the UFC. Really, does it matter, you know what I’m sayin’? I’m the number one contender one day and six months later they take it away and say I’m not. It’s just a title; it doesn’t hold any weight.”
“It’s great to have the title [of number one contender], it just seems to me like when certain fights don’t get put on that should be put on, then it’s like who do you really want to be champion, you know what I’m sayin’? When it really comes down to it, there’s no governing body to say who should fight, and there’s no outside power to say who should fight who or whatever,” Evans siad. “It’s just the UFC and who they think you should fight, you should fight them. With that said, you can pretty much pick whoever you want to be champion in some respect.”
“It would be more concrete if there was an outside [ranking] system saying what’s what…An outside body or ranking system or something like that, so that way you know when you’re up for a title shot, you’re up for a title shot. You know what I’m sayin’?” he asked Pepe. “Instead of feeling that you’re up for a title shot one day and then six months later whatever can happen.”
Well, if it makes him feel any better, Dana White guaranteed Rashad will get the title shot if he beats Tito, so, you know, he’ll probably get it.
Image via Dave Mandel for Sherdog