Vengeance, or competitive spirit? Either way, Rashad Evans plans to erase his two lone losses from his record in his return. Evans clarifies to ‘790 The Ticket Radio’ that it is no longer personal between the former friend turned enemy, Jon Jones and himself. As for Machida, it is about getting vengeance. After a viscous knockout by Machida, the net sprouted numerous satirical images and GIFs of Evans’ knockout; those reminders don’t sit well with Evans.
“It was difficult because it was a fight I really wanted, but it was a good learning tool because it helped me understand that things won’t always go my way and it was something that helped me grow as a person. Did it hurt? Yes. Physically and emotionally. After the fight, a week later if felt like I had been in a car accident. My body was really banged up but my feelings were hurt more. But after a while you let it go. I didn’t get him this time and I know he didn’t get him he was a better fighter that night. I’m going to train, get better and I’ll get a chance to fight him again. I don’t have any ill will towards him or anything like that right now. Probably when we fight again I’ll have some words to say to him, but for the most part I don’t have a problem with him. If he’s the champion, I think I will fight him again, I think our paths will cross one more time. He is very tough because he is very tricky and he made some adjustments in the fight that were really key and that gave him the one. I think he is a tough champion for anybody to beat.”
Very different tone from the former champ on the topic of Jon Jones. The next enemy in Evans’ target however may not be as lucky.
“I would like to Avenge my loss to Jones one day, but also to Machida. Last time he got me pretty good, and all those Internet pictures of me getting knocked out all over the internet…”
Do boos affect the Blackzillian team leader? According to Evans, he feels that he can now divide work and personal.
“I don’t take it personal, because the way I see it, people don’t see me as a person, they see me as a character. So, i can’t really get upset if they say something against me or feel a certain way about me because they don’t even know me. They just know a character of who they think I might be based on what they have seen on T.V. or anything else like that. But, that’s not me as a person. So when they say things to, you know, insulting things or they boo me, I don’t get upset about it because they don’t know who I am as a person. It used to bother me a lot because I couldn’t understand it because i couldn’t divorce the two different sides. I couldn’t divorce Rashad Evans the fighter and Rashad Evans the person. So when they would insult Rashad Evans the fighter I took it like they were insulting Rashad Evans the person. So I started thinking about it and the older I got I just realized that these people don’t know me. The same people that boo me or say something nasty to me are the same ones that will wait two hours in ling to get a picture signed by me or if they see they tell me they are my number one fan and they’ve followed me since TUF. I’ll take a picture with them all the same because the fans are what make you. Without the fans, I would just be somebody that likes to fight. The fans make you, so i don’t get mad at them for that. If they boo or cheer for me, its cool because they feel something.”
Evans will need to wait out the outcome of Lyoto Machida’s bout with Ryan Bader on Aug. 4 at UFC on Fox 4, to see if Machida will be available for a rematch. Should Machida win, the UFC brass usually likes to match-up winners, but they may make an exception for Evans as he’s grown close with the company as an on-screen anchor.
Evans would likely need to make an emphatic finish of Machida in order to earn the second title shot against Jon Jones. Jones will also need to continue his mean streak with a victory over Dan Henderson at UFC 151 on Sept. 1 in Las Vegas, NV. Jones vs. Evans II likely?