Originally billed to take place at UFC 107, the fight was delayed due to Rampage’s controversial decision to accept the role of B.A. Baracus in the upcoming movie “The A-Team”.
This fight has been expected since the tenth season of The Ultimate Fighter when Evans and Team Rashad comfortably beat ‘Rampage’ along with Team Rampage, with Roy Nelson walking out at ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ in the end. During the show there was a series of heated arguments and a lot of trash talk between the pair.
UFC president Dana White talked about animosity between the two via UFC.com, stating,”It’s no secret that Rampage Jackson and Rashad Evans don’t like each other, and this rivalry has gotten more and more intense in the last few months, I can guarantee you that neither one of these guys wants to lose to each other, this fight is going to be insane.”
Rampage will be making his first appearance inside the octagon after a 15 month absence. His last fight inside the cage was a unanimous decision victory against Keith Jardine. However, Rampage is unwilling to let this affect him and stated his desire to knock Rashad out via UFC.com, stating,“I really want to knock this guy out, I’ve never, ever wanted to knock someone as cold as I want to knock Rashad Evans out. He’s disrespected me so much, for so long. I am so motivated to train my ass off. I’ve moved my coaches into my house already – Rashad should be prepared to see a brand new Rampage in May. I saw him in Sydney a few weeks back and we picked up right where we left off. I can’t stand him. He’s a disrespectful person and I didn’t even want to beat Wanderlei Silva as much as I want to beat this guy.”
As a result of Jackson’s withdrawal from the previous fight, Evans instead took on Thiago Silva at UFC 108. Evans ended up winning a unanimous decision despite nearly being knocked out by Silva in the third round..
Rashad also had his own to say about rampage via UFC.com.
“I don’t like all the pre-fight talking, so I can’t wait until I finally get my chance to shut him up,” said Evans. “There were a lot of times on the show when I wanted to hit him right there. When Keith Jardine was training for his fight with Rampage, I had to mimic Rampage’s style. I can probably beat Rampage as Rampage now.“Plus, he’s gotten fat. He needs to get in shape just to get in shape. I may come to the Octagon with Mr. T just to get in his head.”
With both fighters beaming with confidence, something will have to give. Rashad has already told Rampage that ‘He needs to get in shape just to get in shape’. Rampage, on the other hand, is promising a ‘brand new Rampage in May’. All of the trash talk will surely make this fight one to remember.
UFC 114 will take place on the 29th May inside the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.