For you fans that didn’t appreciate paying $44.95 to witness Rashad Evans’ “boring” unanimous decision victory over Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at UFC 114, sucks to be you states the light heavyweight top contender.
“I felt like I needed to bring [wrestling] back after the [UFC 98 fight against Lyoto Machida],” Evans told MMAJunkie.com of revisiting his roots. “One thing that happens sometimes when you find success in one area – and I found success standing up – I kind of forgot about the area where I was strongest.”
Evans was put to sleep by Machida in the 2ndRound of their May 2009 contest. Unfortunately for him, his belt and the only opportunity to defend it were gone well before his alarm ever went off. Prior to the loss, the All-American wrestler posted back-to-back knockout wins over former champs Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin, respectively.
While the explosive finishes gained the controversial Evans a few new fans, Machida apparently knocked some sense into him because he’s planning on a permanent move back to his unpopular – yet effective – stomping grounds.
“Me doing wrestling now is just going to be something I do from here on out,” Evans said of his new/old M.O. “Because no matter how far (I get) in my stand-up, I’ve always got to remember that my bread and butter is my wrestling, and everything else stems from that.”
Despite handling Rampage for most of their 3Round affair, Evans was greeted with choruses of boos throughout much of their highly anticipated contest. Although Evans would prefer to put on a show and entertain the people that help pay his salary, the former champion admits it’s not always the wisest move.
“One thing you understand really quickly as a fighter – and the fans don’t really understand – is that you’re not punching with eight-or 10-ounce gloves on,” Evans added. “You’ve got four-ounce gloves on, and underneath that is a cast.
“And it only takes one good shot for the fight to be over. I wasn’t trying to take no shots for no amount of boos.”
With the win, Evans earned first dibs at Mauricio “Shogun” Rua’s newly minted crown. It appears Shogun has put his two knee surgeries behind him and has recaptured his PrideFC mojo – a period when the Brazilian was considered the planet’s top 205-pounder despite never owning a belt – so Evans may not be allotted the opportunity to come conservatively.