January is over, and now we know that Anthony Johnson and not Alexander Gustafsson, will face UFC light-heavyweight champ, Jon Jones next. Of course, most people understood that Johnson had a very good chance of defeating Gustafsson at UFC on FOX 14, but plenty of folks were already looking past that fight to the possibility of Jones-Gustafsson II.
One man, however, who is keenly aware of the abilities of Johnson is his teammate Rashad Evans, who recently appeared on “The MMA Hour”. While reflecting on Johnson’s first round stoppage win over Gustafsson last month, here is some of what Evans had to say (quote via MMA Fighting.com):
“One of the reasons why I felt AJ won was that Gustafsson, I like Gustafsson, Gustafsson is a cool guy and everything,” Evans said. “But I honestly felt like he actually thought he was the champion. He had a great fight with [Jon] Jones, and it could have went either way. but then he let the hype get him.”
“It’s hard,” Evans said. “Because when you’ve got the UFC machine behind you, hyping you up, putting you on video games and stuff like that, you feel like, yeah, you are the champion, you just ain’t got your belt yet. But then you’re overlooking people. But when you overlook people, that’s when you get it handed to you.”
Heading into UFC on FOX 14, Gustafsson certainly credited Johnson for being a dangerous opponent, so really, only he knows whether he was looking past “Rumble.”
Now it remains to be seen what the UFC does with Gustafsson and Evans. Recently Dana White announced that Gustafsson will not fight Daniel Cormier has some have speculated, and that the UFC has another bout for the Swedish star.
Evans, meanwhile, was scheduled to fight Glover Teixeira later this month, but the latter had to pull out due to an injury. Evans hasn’t fought now since November, 2013, when he took out Chael Sonnen. The former light-heavyweight champ was sidelined with a knee injury for some time.
Jones and Johnson are expected to fight in May.