MMA fighter Rashad Evans has no problem winning fights. Currently fighting in UFC’s Light Heavyweight division, Evans holds an immaculate 10-0 record. Coming off an impressive KO win over Sean Salmon earlier this year, Evans will face his toughest opponent to date, former Light Heavyweight UFC champion Tito Ortiz, this coming Saturday July 7th at UFC 73: Stacked. Evans was generous enough to take some time to talk with us at BuddyTV the other day about his career, the upcoming fight, and his thoughts on a title shot.
Check out the full interview transcript below and listen to the mp3 audio.
This is Royce from BuddyTV and I’m here with MMA fighter Rashad Evans, how’s it going Rashad?
It’s going good man, how are you doing Royce?
I’m doing real well, thanks again for taking the time to talk with us.
No problem man, no problem, The pleasure is mine.
So Rashad, maybe we could start off talking a little bit about your background. I know you come from a strong background of wrestling, you wrestled at collegiate level and eventually became an assistant coach at Michigan State. How did you initially get into mixed martial arts, what was that transition like for you?
I met somebody and I was looking to stay competitive once I graduated from college and I met this guy, he was doing it and I started to train with him and it was just a perfect fit. And the transition was pretty smooth you know, I just had to watch some positions that was a good position to wrestle really wasn’t so much a good position for fighting and Jujitsu.
After winning the Ultimate Fighter 2, which landed you a nice contract with UFC, you dropped down to light heavyweight, and since then you’ve had some pretty nice wins, who would you say has been your toughest opponent since the show?
Since the show my toughest opponent? Um, I don’t know man, I’d say probably since the reality show, probably Sam Hoger because that’s the fight were I just wasn’t myself that fight.
What did you come away with from your most recent win against Sean Salmon?
Just relaxing and having a good time, making it fun again, not being so mental about the fight to the point where it hinders you and you really can’t perform.
Right now your MMA record is flawless, ten wins, zero losses, how do you feel coming into this fight against Tito Ortiz?
I feel confident man, I feel confident, I think it’s a good fight for me. I think its going to be a good fight and I’m just excited you know.
What advantages do you feel that you have over the older, more experienced Tito?
I don’t think he has heart you know. I think I have more heart than he does, I think that he’s the kind of person that if you really put the pressure on him…then he will break. That’s what I think my biggest advantage is coming into the fight.
Without giving too much of your strategy away, can you give your fans some kind of sense as to how you’ve been preparing for this fight and what your game plan is against Tito?
I haven’t done anything too much different, just polishing up on everything, the game plan for the fight is to go in there and just fucking…I mean…sorry, I mean go in there and just scrap, just scrap, just go in there and let the chips fall where they may.
I’m sure you’ve already seen and heard some of the things he wrote on one of his MySpace blog entries earlier this month where he was basically telling fans that he’s pumped on caving your face in and plans to put you in a wheelchair, what’s your response to this, how do you feel about Tito and what he’s been saying about you?
I really don’t care too much about Tito or what he’s saying. I think he’s just, he just ain’t got enough good common sense that he’ll say anything, and it doesn’t bother me either way what he says. It’s one thing to say something, it’s another to go out there and prove it. Anybody can say anything, anybody with a mouth can go out there and say something, it really don’t matter, he has to go out there and he has to prove it, he’s just making the fight harder for himself.
The fight’s obviously getting a lot of buzz and hype, are you feeling any pressure going into this fight?
I mean, nothing that I normally don’t feel going into a fight. I’ve made it a point to myself to try not to make this fight bigger than it is. It’s a fight, and I love doing this and I’m not gonna let the pressure and all the buildup to the fight get to me to the point where I’m not enjoying myself and I’m so nervous that I can’t perform to the best of my ability. So I’m just gonna take it how it is and just enjoy the fight
I know that you have a lot of fans out there, myself included, who think you really deserve a title shot, but at the same time there’s a lot of people out there who think otherwise. How close do you feel you are to a title shot, and do you have anything that you want to say to those who think you don’t deserve one?
I don’t got anything to say to those who don’t think I deserve one. I mean, that’s the thing, everybody is entitled to their own opinion and I have no problem with that, you know. How close am I to a title? I really don’t know, you know, you’re only as good as your last fight so we’ll see after this fight.
I know you’re obviously focused on Tito right now, but who do you want to fight next?
You know, I’m not one of those guys who says I want to fight this person and that person. I love to fight, and fighting’s my job and whoever they give me, that’s who I want to fight next.
Well what can fans expect to see from you once you step foot into the cage come July 7th?
A very happy person. Just somebody going out there trying to have a good time and trying to put on a good show, trying to go out there and really entertain the fans, really leave it all out there.
Do you have any final words for your fans out there?
I’d just like to think everyone out there…fans, non-fans, just everybody out there supporting everything and making it what it is today. Making it such a big production so I got to do a lot of interviews and stuff like that, I mean this is all cool I’d just like to thank everybody for their support.
Well thanks again for your time Rashad, and from all of us at BuddyTV we just want to wish you the best of luck come July 7th. We’re definitely looking forward to an exciting fight.
Thank you, I appreciate it.
(Interview conducted by Royce Yuen)
Be sure to check out our upcoming interview with Anderson Silva and our other recent UFC 73 Interviews with Tito Ortiz,,Nate Marquardt, Kenny Florian.