With his first-ever light heavyweight title defense just days away, champ Rashad Evans is focused on fighting his fight and, if necessary, executing his gameplan against Lyoto Machida for 25-dominating minutes.
“Machida’s probably one of the best guys,” Evans stated of his UFC 98 foe. “I know if I beat Machida, there’s not gonna be too many guys tougher than that in the weight class. I like to go right to the top. I don’t want to delude myself and think that I’m a lot better than I really am. I don’t run away from a challenge like that.”
Forrest Griffin, the UFC’s previous 205-pound title holder, had his strap yanked by Evans at UFC 92 late last year. Although Evans intends on having a more successful reign than Griffin, he knows the target on his back has only increased in size since becoming the top dog in the UFC’s most prized division.
“This is a journey, and it’s a challenge for me in every single fight,” Evans said of his reign as king. “If I knew I was going to win every fight, then I wouldn’t want to fight. I like the fact that there’s a chance that I might get my ass whooped. That excites the hell out of me. That makes me lose a little bit of sleep. That makes me train a little harder. That’s what you need in every fight.”
And as far as legacy, the rambunctious Jackson Submission fighter isn’t even fretting about that just yet. It is far too early in his MMA career to be thinking about any of that nonsense.
“I haven’t even really thought about it,” he said. “Being a ‘legitimate champion,’ that’s something for other people. That doesn’t really mean anything to me. Whether I go in and win or lose, it’s not about that to me. It’s just about competing and giving everything you have.”
And what exactly does he intend on giving a man that has demolished everything that has crossed his path?
“I see maybe a one-hitter quitter happening,” stated the confident champ. “Getting caught with that one shot – boom! Clean.”
That may be Rashad’s dream scenario, but he isn’t dumb enough to believe that it will be that easy against a dude that has made all of his previous 14 opponents look absolutely silly.
“I plan on going into this fight knowing the plan and let it happen,” he said. “Just go with the flow. Machida’s very clever and tricky with his movement, so it’s going to be a chess match.”
The question is, who will be the one shouting checkmate inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada come Saturday night?
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