Friday, July 13, 2012
Rashad Evans: Odds of move '50-50'
By Franklin McNeil ESPN.com
Former UFC light heavyweight Rashad Evans told ESPN.com on Thursday that he is giving "serious consideration" to moving to the middleweight division.
"I've been thinking about going down to middleweight lately," Evans said. "I haven't totally made up my mind. It's something I'm going to think about a little more in the coming months and see where my body's at, but I'm definitely giving it serious consideration. The odds of me moving down to 185 are 50-50 or better."
A potential title fight with middleweight champion Anderson Silva is fueling Evans' motivation to make the cut.
Despite several current middleweights being considered for top-contender status, Evans is confident he would not have to wait long to land a fight with the champion.
"Yes, I would like to fight Anderson at 185," Evans said. "Don't get me wrong, Anderson is my favorite fighter. He's somebody I've looked up to for a long time. But if I had the chance to fight Anderson, it would be a dream come true.
"I'd like to go right into a title fight, but realistically there are other contenders at 185, and to skip over everybody wouldn't be fair. So, it would make sense for me to establish myself in the weight class and have a fight or two, whatever the case may be."
An obstacle that could dash any hope of Evans becoming a middleweight is the physical impact such a cut might have on his body.
The 5-foot-11 native of Niagara Falls, N.Y., does not want to place too much stress on his stocky fame. He's also concerned that a difficult reduction in weight might diminish his performance inside the Octagon.
"I'm pretty sure I can make the cut," said Evans, who has a professional mixed martial arts record of 17-2-1, "but I've never been down that low. If I decide to move down, I will do a practice cut first to make sure my body can do it. That will determine whether I can fight at middleweight or not.
"I will also talk to my management team as well to see what they think, whether I should move down to 185. The last thing I want to do is move down and become half the athlete I am at 205.
"That's something that happened to me while wrestling in college (at Michigan State). I cut too much weight, and if I had competed one weight class higher I would have had a better career."
Evans began competing under Zuffa LLC, the parent company of UFC and Strikeforce, in 2005 when he claimed "The Ultimate Fighter 2" heavyweight tournament title. Afterward, Evans immediately returned to the light heavyweight division, where he became champion in December 2008 with a third-round knockout of Forrest Griffin.
Evans lost the belt to Lyoto Machida in May 2009.
While thoughts of competing at 185 pounds weigh heavyily on his mind, Evans remains a top contender at 205. If he leaves the division there will be no coming back.
"A move to 185 will be permanent," Evans said, "but what I've been thinking about also is that I'm one of the top contenders at 205, so there really is no reason for me to move other than fighting some different people. At 205 I fight tough guys anyway. Jon Jones (the current UFC light heavyweight champion) is a tough dude.
"I'm a 205-pound fighter and the reason I've been successful is that I have attributes that, being a smaller guy, I'm able to bring, like having the speed advantage, things like that. It's something I might not necessarily have at 185. That's something I have to think about as well."