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Thursday, January 31, 2013
Rashad Evans could get title shot

By Franklin McNeil
ESPN.com

LAS VEGAS -- A victory Saturday night at UFC 156 could land former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans a title shot -- at middleweight -- promotion president Dana White said Thursday.

"If Rashad wins Saturday and wants to go down to 185, we would consider that," White said.

Evans (17-2-1) faces Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in the co-feature bout at Mandalay Bay Events Center. It will be Evans' first appearance in the Octagon since April 21, when he lost by unanimous decision to 205-pound champion Jon Jones.

"If UFC officials offer me a title fight against Anderson Silva, it would be very difficult for me not to accept," Evans told ESPN.com. "It would be a tough cut, but I believe I can do it with the right diet."

Evans, 33, never has competed at 185 pounds as a professional mixed martial artist. He won Season 2 of "The Ultimate Fighter" competing as a heavyweight.

White said it would make sense for Evans to do a practice cut before UFC officially would announce a title fight with Silva.

While Silva has fought at 205 pounds, UFC officials only will offer Evans a fight at 185.

"You've got Chris Weidman there (at middleweight)," White said. "Here's the thing: A lot of people think Chris Weidman is the No. 1 contender right now. If Rashad made a move from 205 to 185, it would be tough to say that he isn't the No. 1 contender.

"But if he can't make 185 pounds, what's the point of doing (the fight) at a catch weight? It would make no sense. Other than he just wants to fight Anderson Silva."

Evans and Weidman are the only two fighters UFC is considering as Silva's next opponent. UFC has not determined a date or location for Silva's next title defense, but White said it will not be in Brazil.

In his most recent bout on Oct. 13, Silva knocked out Stephan Bonnar in the first round at UFC 153 in Rio de Janeiro. It was a non-title bout.

Nogueira (20-5) has not fought since Dec. 10, 2011, when he defeated former light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz by first-round TKO at UFC 140.

Evans isn't the only fighter on Saturday night's card expected to land a title shot with a win.

Former Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem will face current UFC titleholder Cain Velasquez with a victory over Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva, White said.

Overeem (36-11) was in line to fight former champion Junior dos Santos on May 26 at UFC 146. That bout, however, was scrapped after Overeem was denied a license to fight in Nevada when a random drug test on March 27 revealed he had an elevated testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio.

He received a license to fight in Nevada in January.