Rashad Evans is a veteran of Mixed Martial Arts. Evans. now 29 years old, has been fighting since 2004. He has an unblemished record of 12-0-1, with the one draw coming against Tito Ortiz back in 2007. This Saturday, Evans will fight Forrest Griffin for the Light Heavyweight title at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Recently, we sat down and talked to Evans, who discussed his time in the UFC, how he’s preparing for his fight with Griffin, and his thoughts on Brock Lesnar.
I’m here with Rashad Evans from UFC talking about his upcoming big title fight with Forrest Griffin. Hi Rashad, thanks for taking the time out to talk to us today. How’s it going?
It’s going good!
What are your general feelings coming into your big title fight against Forrest Griffin?
I feel it’s a good opportunity I have. Forrest is tough as they come. I got a lot of respect for Forrest. I am just excited to go in there and do it.
I understand. He is a good fighter. He’s been around for a while.
We come along the same path on the Ultimate Fighter Show. It’s a testament on how good the show is and bringing fighters along and also the kind of caliber the fighters they do bring on the show. I always had to kind of follow in his foot steps and uphold the standard that he set. Him and Diego Sanchez came out and Koscheck and those guys came out from the first season and they were really doing good in the UFC. My season, when I came out and got in the UFC, I said “ok now those guys set the precedent and now I got to go in there and continue to do my thing like how they did theirs.”
How has your training been different going into this title fight compared to your previous fights.?
It hasn’t been too much different. Just do what I do, but a little bit better. Forrest Griffin has a lot of tools. He’s not so dominating in there. He’s a good all-around fighter so you have to be willing and ready to do everything. That’s how I been training: just doing everything. Haven’t been really focusing on one thing too
Knowing Forrest Griffin well, what do you think will give you trouble with during this fight?
He goes out there and lays it on the line. He doesn’t try to do anything too spectacular or he doesn’t try to hit the big heavy shots. He goes out there and he puts a pace on people and a lot of people have a hard time dealing with the pace, because he gives them a lot of punishment and he keeps on coming. Like the Levi commercial.
From the previous fights, I noticed that Forrest prefers stand-up and I was wondering if that something you are comfortable with?
I been feeling very comfortable standing up. I got a lot of great partners that are very proficient standing up. So standing up is not a problem for me. Along with my wrestling, which is my backbone. I will go to wrestling whenever I need to.
How did you feel about your last fight ‘UFC 85’ with chuck Lidell where you knocked him out in the second around?
It was a great fight. Beside the fight itself, I felt very very comfortable being in the octagon. I had an 11 month layover and it was a long time since I been in there and to go in there and feel comfortable they way I did, I was surprised and shocked. It was a great performance and I had my teammates and my coaches put together a great game-plan for me. It was one of those fights that I was very happy with.
Watching, it was a great fight and at first the fight wasn’t even going to happen. Chuck was injured and then they brought on another guy and he was injured; then finally you get to fight Chuck again.
It was crazy how that happen because that would of been the third opponent that I was going to fight. Before Chuck Lidell, I was suppose to fight Anderson Silva and then there was Chuck and then James Irvin. So I was just so tired switching up my opponents. I was just like, man, I know I was very very frustrated because I had trained and been away from home and I made the sacrifice and then I didn’t get anything in return. So I was very frustrated with that, but to have everything work out the way it did–it was perfect. It really taught me something about just being patient. My mom, when I talk to her about it, she said “just keep patiently waiting and things are going go work out for you” and that’s what I did. I went home for a couple weeks and enjoyed some family time and then got back to training a few months later.
One of the things that was interesting was the Brock Lesnar and Randy Couture fight. What did you think about it?
I was very very impressed with Randy’s first round and a half. I feel that if he had not gotten caught, but has was giving Brock Lesnar a fit. He was giving Brock a lot of trouble and I thought he took a lot of big shots up to that point. He took some very good shots, but the one he got caught behind the ear was just too much for him especially with Brock’s size and everything. I always said about Brock Lesnar, ever since I seen him the first time, I know that he would be tough. He still has a lot to learn but he is definitely a competitor.
I think with Brock, he just tries to over power you because he’s so big and strong and he just wants that one good punch.
The thing that impressed me the most about the fight was how not strong Randy Couture made him seem. Watching the fight as a competitor I was like “wow”, he must not be that strong. Randy Couture was really moving him. He was moving him he was scrambling around and taking him down and doing all those things and I was just like “wow.” Not saying that Randy’s weak, but he’s so smart compared to him and he’s moving in there pretty well against him and was just like “man.” If he had the overwhelming strength that you would see with somebody his size, he would of folded him right away, if someone would of had a hold of them.
Hoping that you are going to win this light heavyweight title fight, have you ever thought about moving up and facing new challenges and a round of different fighters up in heavyweight?
I would do it for a super-fight or something. Something for fun or something like that. Providing that I win the belt and do good over there and have a great performance. I want to clean up my weight class before I go up there looking at others.
Is there anybody else in the light heavyweight division you want to fight next?
I want to fight all the greats. Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson is somebody I always had a lot of respect for and I was a big fan of his and still is a big fan of his and I would love to fight him. Wanderlei Silva because just how much work he’s put in and stuff like that. I would love to fight him as well. My weight class is full of people I would like to fight. As a fighter you always want to go out there and test yourself against the best opponents. It kind of makes you feel a little bit vulnerable at times like, “man I didn’t know this time,” but that’s the part of the fight that makes it the intangible part. That’s the part where you can’t put a price on. That’s the part that makes it all worth it to win. You go into a situation and you didn’t know how the outcome is going to go because your opponent is equally as gifted as you are and then you go in there and do it. You win the fight. That’s the greatest gift right there. That’s worth more than all the money you can ever get from fighting.
Your record is unblemished at 12-0-1, but you got that one draw and that draw came from Tito Ortiz from last year and I remember that fight. After that fight Tito wanted a rematch and is that something you guys are planning to work out later or maybe next year?
If it happens, if he ever comes back to UFC. He’s out there doing whatever he’s doing right now. I mean if it ever happens, it happens. It’s not something that I’m going to dread on or think that I need. I think that everything happen for a reason and as cliche as that sounds it’s really the truth. It has helped me grow in a lot of areas. It helped me to become the fighter that I am today. It’s not like a fight that I’m like, “Man I have to have that one back to be complete.” I already feel that fight has served its purpose.
I noticed that you were in a Microsoft commercial back then and I was just wondering it that something you might want to get into after your fighting career? Where do you see yourself doing after your done with MMA and your fighting career?
Branching out is something that I definitely am interested in as far as acting and doing new things like that. Making cameo appearances, because in this fight game you are always one fight away from your last fight. I’m my mind I always say that this is my last fight because, you know what, this very well can be my last fight. It helps me to go in there and compete at a full level but at the same time it gives me a realistic point of view to know that this is gift and it can be over anytime. Now with that said, you want to make sure that you maximize the times you do have so do the acting thing and besides the acting can very fun to do and very challenging as well. I can see myself definitely getting bit by the acting bug and trying to perfect my role outside of just being a tough guy.
Great! Thank you so much. Is there anything else you would like to say to our fans out there?
I would like to thank all my fans out there for supporting MMA and everybody who likes me and don’t like me. Just thanks for supporting MMA in general and the look for a good show December 27th.
— Interview conducted by Daniel Ha
(Photo Source: UFC Online)
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV