By Zach Arnold | July 12, 2011
Click on the image (copyright – Crave Online) to visit Fight Week on Sherdog for more interviews & content
GREG SAVAGE: “It seems like you’ve been around forever now. You look at your record, you look at your age, you’re 31 years old, man. You’re a young guy in this sport, you’ve already been a champion. I’m sure you’ve got a lot of aspirations and goals still in this sport, but you’ve come a long way. Rate your career so far.”
RASHAD EVANS: “You know, I’ll give it a, if I was to give it a grade, I’ll probably give it a B+, you know what I’m saying? It’s not quite where it could be or where I think it, you know, really should be. But it’s about the journey and it’s about taking those pitfalls and the ups & downs and ebbs & flows that’s going to make me achieve those goals so when I’m finished with my career I can say I got an A+.”
GREG SAVAGE: “You talk about winning at Light Heavyweight, your next move was to go to Heavyweight. You were a tiny, tiny Heavyweight. You muscled your way through The Ultimate Fighter, won a split decision over Brad Imes to claim that title, and that was it for you. You went back down to Light Heavyweight. Everyone still said, maybe you should be a Middleweight, though. I mean, you fought that assertion for a long time. Why not?”
RASHAD EVANS: “You know… I’m always one of those fighters that never looks as big as they really are, you know what I’m saying? I always look small and, you know, I figure I’m doing well at 205, so what’s the point going down to 185? You know, if I got smashed up at 205, then I might think that maybe I should go (down) but for the most part, I never really got into a fight where I felt somebody at 205 and I was just like, man, this guy’s just above average strong and I think to find, you know, go down to 185 where I can be, you know, the stronger guy. But I haven’t found that at 205, yet.”
GREG SAVAGE: “The Ultimate Fighter was a springboard for your career, it was an amazing platform for you. But it seems like what happened on that show started the whole ‘Rashad’s this bad guy, Rashad’s this cocky guy who really doesn’t care about anything else’ and it’s gone downhill since then for you. It seems like you’re fighting an image battle, at least you were. Now, it seems like you threw in the towel. Do you even care? And is that, you know, the flashpoint for this?”
RASHAD EVANS: “At some point I used to be like, ah, man, I really care about being a good guy because I can’t be any further than the public perception in real life, you know what I’m saying, anybody who ever met me in real life is like, you’re not like nothing how I thought and it’s the craziest thing because it’s just so funny how I’m portrayed and I’m seen but I do think it was, you know, Matt Hughes saying that I’m a cocky fighter and some of the things I did when I did fight, people are like, ‘Ah, man, this guy is cocky and arrogant and this is the way he is.’ But you got to understand. like. when you go out there and fight, you can’t go there and be like, you know, for me, myself, I can’t go out there and be, you know, too like, you know, submissive or too, you know, not trying to be a certain way.
“When I go out there and compete, my main thought is like, I don’t compete from the (angry) point of view. For me, it’s like I want to go out there and embarrass somebody. I want to go out there and just like make them be like, what was I even thinking fighting this guy? You know and there’s where I compete my best from and so when I go out there I’m bringing that attitude, that’s my attitude, that’s my mindset. You know, when I’m out there with somebody, I don’t just want to beat them, I want to try to embarrass them, you know I want (them) to be like, ‘I never want to fight this guy again.’ And when you’re out there fighting, the fight is won on two levels — one is on the physical and the other one is on the mental. And if I get my guy second-guessing himself, if I can get my guy hitting me with his hardest punch and I look at him and smile or, you know, do something when he doesn’t expect it, then I’m winning on the mental level and then the physical is going to come after that.”
GREG SAVAGE: “So, you’re sitting there in March going to the UFC (in New Jersey) thinking, you know, had to pull out because I got injured, you know, Jon Jones goes in and wins his fight and, next thing you know, he’s going to be fighting Shogun and you’re just like, what are you thinking sitting there cage side?”
RASHAD EVANS: “Well, I had an idea before the fight that they were going to, if Jon Jones won (against Ryan Bader) that he was going to get the title shot and I spoke to Jon the night before the fight and I told him that, you know, what was said and I’d told him he’d be a fool if he didn’t take the opportunity. So, it was kind of a little bittersweet because at the time I was really digging Jon. I was like, man, you know, I’m excited for this kid and I think that, you know, if he gets the title shot he’s going to win it, you know, and I knew he was going to smash Bader, I knew Bader didn’t stand a chance. So, I just knew that, you know, here’s a kid who worked hard and he works hard and he’s going to get a shot at the title and I was happy for him, you know. I was surprised the way they did it, you know what I’m saying, that was kind of cold blooded the way they did it but, you know, all’s fair.”
GREG SAVAGE: “You say you were still digging him then. When did you, you know, start to not dig him? When did you see these character flaws you talked about?”
RASHAD EVANS: “Well, the first thing that happened, you know, because I took a lot of
shit from everybody like saying, ‘oh, man, you’re not going to fight your teammate,’ because I still buy it because I wanted to extend the same respect that I was wanting him to extend to me if I would have won a championship and I wasn’t going to fight him. You know, I got blasted by Dana White and by all the fans and everybody’s talking that I’m scared and all this crap.
“But what bothered me and made me start seeing things differently is when Jon did an interview on Versus with Ariel Helwani and asked a question if he would fight me, he was, yeah, I would fight him. I mean I wouldn’t want, you know, I wouldn’t want to get fired, I wouldn’t want if Dana White said so. Of course Dana White is going to say so, that’s his job to put the best fights on, so… that, to me, answer was kind of like, you know, saying Dana White made me do it, that’s kind of a cop out. For him to say it like that was just kind of like, okay, you know, it’s kind of a smack in the face. But the simple fact that he did a pre-recorded interview and didn’t even have, you know, the respect to give me a call and say, listen, I did an interview and this is what it may sound like, this is what I really meant by it, and just saying don’t take it personal or whatever, bye. Then I would have been cool.”
GREG SAVAGE: “What was it like when he came out and did another interview and talked about, ‘you know I used to handle Rashad in practice, I’m not worried about it.’ I mean, that’s a cardinal rule for fighters, you don’t talk about what happens in the room. I mean, he broke it. What was it like for you, what was it like for other fighters you talked to about it?”
RASHAD EVANS: “You know, just the simple fact that he even said that was kind of like… like… it’s mind-boggling to me to even bring that up, you know what I’m saying, especially since the fact that, uh, if he even did get the better of me in any practice, it was intended for him to get the better of me.”
GREG SAVAGE: “Mike Van Arsdale said it was you portraying Ryan Bader, trying to help him out.”
RASHAD EVANS: “Yeah, me trying to be Ryan Bader, so that may be the only reason why he may have got the better of me or even one day he might have been having a good day and I might have been having a bad day, it happens in practice. Practice is practice, you know what I’m saying? That’s why you got to practice and you try different things because some days you’ll be the shark, some days you’ll be the bait. The greatest fighters in the world had days where they got got by somebody or something like that and they’re just like, really, we’re training together, we’re supposed to be brothers. We’re training partners and then you’re going to brag because you took me down or you caught me with a punch? Are you serious, it’s practice, you know what I’m saying? It’d be one thing if you did it in a live fight or something like that but if it’s at practice, that’s like, you know, to me it was just childish. It showed to me where his mind was at.
“The simple fact that he did is just like, man, so this kid is going around telling people that got me in practice but that’s funny, he never brings up when I got him in practice. He was like, you know, begging me to get up and then he’s like, you know, for like 5 minutes just slapping him in his face, hitting him, hitting him like this…
‘get up! get up!’
‘can you help me up?’
‘no, I can’t help you up, you got to get up, you got to earn your way up.’
“And then I’m hitting him some more.
‘uh, uh, uh, well, well, uh, the bell’s rung.’
“I said, listen, if you quit now, you’re going to quit in a fight. Work your way back up. And I made him work his way back up because I was trying to help him. I wasn’t trying to dominate him. I was like, if this kid is going to quit now, he will quit in a fight.
“And I know he’ll quit in a fight. Mark my words — when Jon Jones loses, he’s going to quit in a fight.”