Former UFC light heavyweight champ Rashad Evans has been slightly more elusive in directing blame for his UFC 98 loss to Lyoto Machida than he was the night the Brazilian whooped him. Since the loss, Evans has been searching for answers and it appears that he’s not prepared to look in the mirror just yet.
Evans, who will coach opposite fellow-former champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson on the tenth season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” has finally spoken extensively on what he thought went wrong inside the Octagon that night.
When asked about his game plan against the elusive Machida, Evans, in a roundabout way, didn’t avoid blaming his trainer and MMA mastermind, Greg Jackson, for having the collegiate All-American wrestler strike with the Brazilian.
A reporter immediately probed deeper, asking Evans if a wrestler could possibly put the 15-0 champ in jeopardy?
“Somebody that can use their wrestling,” Evans sarcastically replied. “Yeah, someone that actually uses it, knows how to … yeah. Who goes into the fight and says, ‘you know what, I can strike, but I can wrestle, and actually do that. I think he could give him some trouble.'”
If by “he” he means himself, than yes, Evans definitely could have used his superior wrestling skills to control a ground game against Machida, however “he” chose not to.
“He” was the one that stepped inside the cage, not Jackson. And “he” is the one that would have received all the love if “he” would have won. “He” didn’t and now “he’s” not willing to accept the blame.
Although he didn’t point the finger directly at Jackson for masterminding the strategy, his statement wasn’t a vote of confidence either.
Evans needs to watch himself as Jackson is one of the most respected minds in all of MMA. If “Sugar” is souring on that thought, all he needs to do is look at his fellow Jackson Submission-trained fighter, UFC champ Georges St-Pierre.
Jackson has single-handily morphed a talented GSP into the world’s best in his weight class, and it really isn’t close.
What helped the French-Canadian reach untouchable status was when he gave himself a hard look in the mirror and accepted full responsibility for his disappointing title defense loss.
It was then, and only then, that St-Pierre realized that his fate is in his own hands.
Come on, Rashad, let’s sing a little MJ.
“I’m startin’ with the man in the mirror…”
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