UFC light heavyweight Rashad Evans (17-2-1) has never lacked confidence, showing swagger from the start of his run in the Octagon still present today seven years later. However, leading up to his fight this weekend with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, the 33-year old has stayed relatively quiet about his adversary.
As Evans recently explained, he has a great deal of admiration for what Nogueira has accomplished in his career, telling MMAJunkie he’s honored to have an opportunity to face someone like the seasoned Brazilian.
“I have huge respect for the Nogueira brothers and the legacies that both of them have created. At the end of the day, when my career is said and done, I want to say that I competed against some of the best guys in the business, and he’s somebody that I consider one of the best guys in the business. He and his brother are both legends, and I’m excited to compete against him,” explained Evans, making it clear he wasn’t overlooking Nogueira despite his status as an underdog.
Regarding any future fights, Evans said he simply wants to work his way back up to status as a top contender and get another crack at champion Jon Jones. He and Jones faced off last April with “Bones” picking up a Unanimous Decision win.
“I still watch Jon, and I love to see him fight. I love to see his creativity. I still watch him, and I still want to get a chance to fight him again,” said Evans. “I know and I believe that if I fight him again, things will definitely be different. I feel like I’ve got what it takes to beat him. I’ve studied his game, and I know it. I feel like it would be a different fight this time around.
Evans also weighed in on the possibility of dipping down to 185 pounds to challenge pound-for-pound king Anderson Silva, another opponent he’s expressed past interest in.
“I’m not a good match-up for him. I’m sure he’s not chomping at the bit to fight me. He doesn’t really have anything to gain from fighting me, so I don’t know if he would even want to fight me. I don’t know why he would go out of his way to fight somebody like me. If the UFC is not going to make him fight me, then I don’t see why he would fight me,” admitted Evans. “Besides that, I love Anderson. He’s a great guy outside of the cage, and he’s one of my favorite fighters to watch inside the cage. To me, to fight him would be a little bittersweet because I know I would beat him. I know I would beat him.”
Fan can catch Evans’ clash with Nogueira on the PPV portion of UFC 156 when the main card fires up Saturday night at 10:00 PM EST. Evans hasn’t seen action since falling to Jones where he had a four-fight winning streak snapped in the process, while the 20-5 “Minotoro” has been shelved since success over Tito Ortiz in December 2011.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC