Rashad Evans Moving Up To HW Or Dropping to MW After Bones Jones Beats Rua

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    Rashad Evans Moving Up To HW Or Dropping to MW After Bones Jones Beats Rua


    By Brett Okamoto
    ESPN.com

    LAS VEGAS -- An injury to his left knee might end up forcing Rashad Evans out of more than just a title fight at UFC 128 in March -- it might end up forcing him out of the 205-pound division entirely.

    Evans found out Saturday he would not be physically able to compete against light heavyweight champion Mauricio Rua on the UFC 128 card, due to a sprained ligament. The title shot will now go to Evans' teammate and close friend, Jon Jones, who defeated Ryan Bader at UFC 126 via submission.

    Evans is confident that the 23-year-old Jones will claim the 205-pound title in March over Rua and that's where the predicament comes into play. The two have sworn they won't fight one another and Evans said it might be best to explore other options sooner rather than later.

    "There is no doubt in my mind that [Jon Jones] is going to win," Evans told ESPN.com. "He is going to destroy Rua in the first round.

    "[After that], I'm still not going to fight Jon. I will always find something to challenge myself. I will go up to heavyweight or down to middleweight. But I will not fight Jon."

    The former light heavyweight champion expressed confidence he could be competitive in both weight classes. He won the second season of the "Ultimate Fighter" reality series as a heavyweight, but has never competed at middleweight.

    Evans (15-1-1) hasn't fought since earning a unanimous decision win over ***** Quinton Jackson at UFC 114 in May. He was named the No. 1 contender following the win and would have fought for the title last year had Rua (19-4) not suffered a knee injury of his own.

    Instead of taking a fight while Rua rehabbed his knee, Evans chose to sit out until the champ was ready. Now, Rua is ready to go March 19 and it's Evans who faces a recovery process.

    UFC president Dana White was against Evans' waiting for the title shot and reiterated that Saturday, saying, "I said it's crazy waiting for Shogun [Rua]. You wait all this time and then something like this pops up. Now you're out even longer."

    Evans, who lost the belt in his first title defense against Lyoto Machida at UFC 98, said he didn't regret the decision.

    "I waited for awhile because you never know when you will get to fight for the belt again," Evans said. "I was close [to regaining the title.] I was right there. I had a great camp. I felt better than I'd ever felt before."

    One man's loss is another's gain -- in this case, the 23-year-old Jones.

    Jones was aware Evans was injured before going into his fight with Bader on Saturday, but wasn't sure it was severe enough his teammate would have to pull out of his upcoming fight. In fact, nobody knew that bit of information until Saturday afternoon, according to White. At that time, White made the decision Jones would be Evans' replacement if he got past Bader. Although UFC officials never like to predict the winner of fights, White admitted there was no backup plan had Bader pulled out the upset win.

    "This thing just happened. I found out today as I was driving to the arena at 2:30 [p.m. PT]," White said. "I told Shogun, 'Listen, if this kid wins we want to put him in there.' His team accepted. I then literally walked up and told Jon in the Octagon, 'You want this fight?' That's how it was made."

    Other than the bittersweet emotions of replacing a teammate, it's close to a perfect scenario for Jones (12-1).

    Jon Jones: "I was getting ready to come back and be the best Shogun I could be as a training partner. I have been mimicking him in practice so I have a pretty darn good clue of what I'm getting into. I'm excited about it” -- Jon Jones, on being familiar with Mauricio Rua's style

    As Evans' training partner, Jones had already been working on mimicking Rua's fighting style. In doing so, Jones says he's already very familiar with Rua's strengths and weaknesses -- a big advantage given the fight is just more than one month away.

    "I was getting ready to come back and be the best Shogun I could be as a training partner," Jones said. "I have been mimicking him in practice so I have a pretty darn good clue of what I'm getting into. I'm excited about it."

    Rua downplayed any significance in the change of opponent, adding that Evans and Jones fight similarly.

    "Jon Jones is a very good striker with Muay Thai and a wrestling base," Rua said. "To be honest with you, it's pretty much the same type of work I was doing for Rashad Evans. It doesn't change that much."

    What it does potentially change is what weight division Evans competes in. Because whether others like it or not, he's not fighting Jones anytime soon -- both of them have agreed on as much.

    "There was no chance I would fight Rashad Evans," Jones said. "Rashad has humbled himself so much throughout my training camp. He has been a great friend."

    Brett Okamoto covers MMA for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter at bokamotoESPN.

    ESPN.com - Jones, Evans brothers in harm vs. Rua
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    I would like to see him at 185 if he can make the cut. He would be a thick MW with a real solid wrestling base. He could make serious noise down there
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    This wouldn't be the first time that it's been mentioned regarding Rashad moving to MW. He wrestled at MSU in the 174 lb division, so his body has been there before albiet not for some time now.
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    HW would not be a fun place for him.

    Rashad vs....

    vs JDS
    vs Velasquez
    vs Lesnar
    vs Carwin, who he probably also wouldn't fight.
    vs Nelson
    vs Mir
    vs Big Nog
    vs Schaub

    Rashad would need to be a meaty HW and probably too meaty to be effective.
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    Rashad would scare too easily at HW... he doesn't want to fight any of those guys. He'll move down to middleweight as soon as he can be sure that he won't ever have to fight Anderson. This moving down because he doesn't want to fight Bones for the title is a cop-out. He's trained with him and knows he'd probably lose, and he's scared of Shogun. You don't see him asking for a rematch with Machida do you? That would actually make sense if Machida beats Couture. I think Rashad could make 185 and be succesful due to his athleticism and wrestling base, but I think the way he's adapted his style has really turned a lot of people off to him. I just think he's a chump, has nothing to do with his style.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgassen15 View Post
    Rashad would scare too easily at HW... he doesn't want to fight any of those guys. He'll move down to middleweight as soon as he can be sure that he won't ever have to fight Anderson. This moving down because he doesn't want to fight Bones for the title is a cop-out. He's trained with him and knows he'd probably lose, and he's scared of Shogun. You don't see him asking for a rematch with Machida do you? That would actually make sense if Machida beats Couture. I think Rashad could make 185 and be succesful due to his athleticism and wrestling base, but I think the way he's adapted his style has really turned a lot of people off to him. I just think he's a chump, has nothing to do with his style.
    come on man, Rashad won TUF as a heavyweight
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    Guess he's putting this on hold to fight Rampage at UFC 130.
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    i think all the people who say "blah blah its your job as a fighter to fight anyone in your way to the belt" needs to ask themselves a question, would they want to bash one of their good friend's face in? a grappling or wrestling match is one thing but a fight is another.

    rodja you fight mma, if you trained at one gym consistently and had good friends there would you fight one of them?
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    Quote Originally Posted by AntonG42O View Post
    i think all the people who say "blah blah its your job as a fighter to fight anyone in your way to the belt" needs to ask themselves a question, would they want to bash one of their good friend's face in? a grappling or wrestling match is one thing but a fight is another.

    rodja you fight mma, if you trained at one gym consistently and had good friends there would you fight one of them?
    Personally, I probably would as it is still a sport. Granted, it would be hard to go full force and would probably try to get a submission.
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    fighting a friend would be tough....but college teammates have to kill each other in the nfl all the time...a dtackle isn't going to sit out a game against his friend whos a center....the ufc needs to stop this and say you fight who we give you and stop letting fighters dictate who they fight
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    As a fan, I think a drop to MW would be great, because stylistically speaking, he could be Silva's kryptonite.
    An Evans/Silva fight would be great.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Young Gotti View Post
    fighting a friend would be tough....but college teammates have to kill each other in the nfl all the time...a dtackle isn't going to sit out a game against his friend whos a center....the ufc needs to stop this and say you fight who we give you and stop letting fighters dictate who they fight
    Comparing football to a fist fight is just stupid.

    Also, I guess everyone missed this report:
    http://mmajunkie.com/news/22401/thia...shad-evans.mma
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodja View Post
    Comparing football to a fist fight is just stupid.

    Also, I guess everyone missed this report:
    http://mmajunkie.com/news/22401/thia...shad-evans.mma
    comparing a fist fight to an mma fight is just stupid
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    Quote Originally Posted by Young Gotti View Post
    comparing a fist fight to an mma fight is just stupid
    You fit in quite well with the **** crew.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Young Gotti View Post
    comparing a fist fight to an mma fight is just stupid
    are you serious? an mma fight IS a fist fight with 4 oz gloves. feels just like getting hit with a bare knuckle. sure there is grappling involved but as far as friends go, id much rather football tackle my friend than smash his face wearing a 4 oz glove.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodja View Post
    You fit in quite well with the **** crew.
    whats that supposed to mean?....if mma is a form of martial arts it's more of an art than a street fight.....friends fist fight friends all the times at the bar...either way i wasn't comparing football to mma...what i mean is teammates or old teammates engage in competition all the time, mma is the only place i've heard of ppl not wanting to do it and in my opinion it should stop and dana should tell these guys this is a business if you don't want to be the best and it's your time you take it, if not you start from the bottom

    give me and my best friend 500k with a bonus if we knock the other out and i'm sure we'd be in the ring in two seconds
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    thats the thing, you might wanna fight your best friend but someone else might not want to. i dont want to buy a crappy fight if the guys are friends and dont wanna hit each other
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    Quote Originally Posted by Young Gotti View Post
    whats that supposed to mean?....if mma is a form of martial arts it's more of an art than a street fight.....friends fist fight friends all the times at the bar...either way i wasn't comparing football to mma...what i mean is teammates or old teammates engage in competition all the time, mma is the only place i've heard of ppl not wanting to do it and in my opinion it should stop and dana should tell these guys this is a business if you don't want to be the best and it's your time you take it, if not you start from the bottom

    give me and my best friend 500k with a bonus if we knock the other out and i'm sure we'd be in the ring in two seconds
    Did I say street fight? No, I said fist fight, which, like it or not, MMA is. There are very few instances where it is even plausible to have teammates fight each other. Casual fans bitch about it because they don't understand it and what you really have to go through as a team for a fight.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodja View Post
    Did I say street fight? No, I said fist fight, which, like it or not, MMA is. There are very few instances where it is even plausible to have teammates fight each other. Casual fans bitch about it because they don't understand it and what you really have to go through as a team for a fight.
    i understand where your coming from, but if you want to be the best in your sport and that belt is the sign of being the best, then no one should stand in your way, weather it's a training partner, friend or anything

    for the casual fan, i may call it a fist fight, but if i told bj penn or machinda that they were fist fighers, i don't think they'd take that very well
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    Quote Originally Posted by Young Gotti View Post
    i understand where your coming from, but if you want to be the best in your sport and that belt is the sign of being the best, then no one should stand in your way, weather it's a training partner, friend or anything

    for the casual fan, i may call it a fist fight, but if i told bj penn or machinda that they were fist fighers, i don't think they'd take that very well
    Shogun was considered the #1 LHW years before he ever won a championship. Again, you're adding words into my statements by saying that they're fist fighters. They are mixed martial artists participating in a fist fight in a cage.
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    Thiago Silva injured, Rampage-Rashad 2 is on! ***UPDATED***


    Sources have indicated to MMAWeekly.com as of Wednesday that Thiago Silva has been forced to withdraw from his upcoming fight at UFC 130, and will be replaced by none other that former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans.
    http://www.bloodyelbow.com/2011/2/9/...ashad-evans-in
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    Hope page tears him up this time and don't let rashad do the stanky leg to him.
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    I think Page is fighting Hamil yall...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emerge View Post
    I think Page is fighting Hamil yall...
    He is. Dana didn't want another "snoozefest" between Rashad and Rampage.
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