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Fighting Thiago and blood on his face: Rashad Evans interview

Cagewriter

Former UFC light heavyweight champion and current "The Ultimate Fighter" coach Rashad Evans spoke with Cagewriter on myriad topics. Here is part two of our talk. Find part one here.

Since it doesn't look like you're going to fight Rampage, who do you want to fight?

If it's not him, I'd like to fight Thiago Silva. After his last fight with Jardine, he kinda gave me a look afterwards, like he was saying something to me. He gave me a look like, "You're next." I didn't like that. That made me want to punch him right there.

Does it make it easier if it's personal?

It does, when you're trading off one personal situation for the next. Because I can't fight somebody that I really want to fight, the next best step is to fight someone else who it's personal with.

Is it just because he knocked out your teammate?

I can handle my teammate losing, because that's just something that happens when you decide to go in the Octagon. But it's the simple fact that after he did it, he stood over him, and gave him the signal like he was shooting him down. And then in the back room, I shook his hand and said, "Nice fight," just to be respectful. Then he shot me a dirty look. I wanted to say something to him right there, but my wife was there, my man just lost to this guy, I'm not going to make a bad situation right there.

Especially when you can get paid for it.

Exactly.

When is the earliest you can fight?

The earliest I could probably fight is December, like I originally planned to fight. I like to have a lot of time to be able to format what I want to do, and how I'm going to do my training camp. When you're doing a camp on short notice, it makes everything else suffer. There's a process even getting ready for camp. I've got to make sure all my bills are taken care of, I've got to make sure my family is OK, so I don't have to worry about nothing when I'm at camp. I need more than just the eight weeks out. I probably need about 12.

Is that why you go away to camp?

Yeah, I like going away for camp. It brings out the savagery. WHen I'm away at camp, it's like I'm suffering. Each day I'm away, and I'm away from things I'm comfortable with, my wife, my kids. Then it's like, this guy is making me suffer, and taking something away from me. It gets inside me, makes me really want to fight. When I'm training for a fight, I'm not the same person that I normally am when I'm at home. I'm always thinking about fighting. I'm doing it day in and day out. Pretty soon, my personality starts to change. My temper's a little bit shorter, I don't have a lot of patience for a lot of things.

Does that cause problems at home?

Yeah, it definitely causes problems at home. My wife is married to a part-time husband. That's hard to do. The kids get the short end of the stick, too.

Before the seasons started, I wrote that I thought this seasons of "The Ultimate Fighter" was going to be terrible, especially with the heavyweight fights. Convince me that I'm wrong.

The heavyweights now are more athletic than the heavyweights we've come to expect. Usually, the heavyweights in wrestling were just the guys who were big and fat. Now, the new heavyweight breed, they're athletic and more talented. They have a lot of athletic abilities. They're able to do a lot more. They're able to move and be agile. They're able to do the things the lighter guys can do to make the fight interesting. That's why you have a guy like Marcus Jones. 6'7, 280, but he can move. These guys all could move.

How did that translate to last week's fight?

The referee could have done more to dictate the pace of the fight. Not to say that Mazzagatti didn't do a good job, but when you have a guy like that, where the position is stagnant, it's up to the referee to say, "Alright guys, back up." If a fighter's in an advantageous position, he's going to stay in that position.

Did you get any blood on you?

I got blood in my mouth. Me and Abe Wagner are connected for life. Later on, there was spots and trails of blood all over my face. If you saw it in real life, you would have thrown up. He's right in front of us, and it's leaking out of head like it's a faucet. I couldn't believe they let the fight go on. I thought he was going to get up, and his head was going to fall off from blood loss.

Is Wes Sims as crazy as he seems?

Wes Sims? There's something wrong with him. He's really off. He's crazier than he seems.

What was it like coaching alongside your coach, Greg Jackson?

It was interesting because I got to see things as he sees them. It was kind of weird, because there were so many times that I wanted him to take the reins, take control, like he would normally do, but then I thought, hold on. I'm the coach. It was good. It was different, but it was fun.

Do you think that coaching helped you as a fighter?

It definitely helped me, especially with the stage I was in when I came into the show. I had just been knocked out really bad. I was in the position where I was thinking, "Y'know what, maybe I'm not really as good as I thought." I was second guessing myself. But coaching those guys, and going through techniques, and seeing Greg and Trevor Wittman and Mike Van Arsdale coach, I started to really understand more about the lessons they were teaching. I had to go and teach them myself. I definitely became a better fighter, just by coaching.

I wasn't even expecting that. Not just from a technical point of view, but just for getting that hunger back. You see these guys, and they are hungry. They wanted to be where I was at. They wanted to be in the UFC. They wanted to be the winner of the show. It reminded me of when I first came in.

Was it better to be a coach or a fighter on TUF?

It's easier to be a coach. Being in the house is not for the faint of heart. You're good there for about a week and a half, or maybe the first two weeks. But then you realize that life is going on outside of this, and you miss your comforts at home. You miss being able to go to the store, just because. Not even to get anything, but just because you want to do it. You're missing your independence. Why are these guys reverting back to being like little kids? I'm talking to these guys like they're kids, but they're my age. I think it's the loss of independence. When you don't have to worry about what time you've got to wake up, what you've got to do for the day, when you take all that independence away, they revert back to being little kids. It happens every season. That's how the houses get torn up, and the guys do dumb, crazy (expletive) because they're being little kids.

What was your impression of Kimbo Slice?

Kevin Ferguson? What would you like to know about Kevin? Kimbo's a lot different than I expected. When I first saw him on the show, I thought, this dude's going to be all hood, and street, and he's not going to be too cool. But then he opens his mouth to speak, and he's really polite. He's reall well-spoken. You can tell that he's a smart dude. It's like that Lil' Jon skit on Dave Chappelle. I didn't expect that at all. He's a really cool dude.

Do you regret not picking him for your team?

I do, I would have really like to work with him.. I think he would have had a good time working with the people I brought on. I kept bringing in all kinds of coaches. It's one thing for me to teach the technique that I've been shown, but I thought I should give these guys an opportunity to have access to what I have all the time. That's a plethora of coaches at the highest level. I exposed them to all the coaches I had. Kimbo would have benefitted from it. I had someone special for each of my guys.

If Greg Jackson calls you tomorrow, and asks what do you think if Kimbo joined our camp, what would you say?
I'd say, get Kimbo. Get Kevin Ferguson. He'd fit in well at our camp. His biggest thing is that he wants to learn, and he wants to be in a gym where he's not being taken advantage of, and where no one is trying to hurt him. He's been through those things.

He told me, the first time he went and trained at a jiu-jitsu gym and put him in an armbar. He said, he went to get his glock and shoot him. He wasn't playing. It wasn't a game. "He's got me in an armbar. He's gotta die." Just thinking that way is crazy.

But that he's changed so much is just as crazy.

He's a student of the game. He wants to learn. What he wants is, when all is said and done, is to be able to say that I was good. And that says a lot. Don't come in here with the thinking I want to make money, I want to be famous, no. He just wants to be a contender. He wants to be good.

Is there anyone from your team that you expect to come train with you?

Justin Wren, maybe Jon Madsen. We built a network around all our fighters. What we did is made these eight individuals come together as a team with one goal. That's hard to do. We had them forgetting it was a competition between each other. That was something we did through a lot of hard work, and getting them to build each other up. We took pride in that. THey got to see what it was like to be a part of our team. On our team, the biggest concept is you're only as strong as your weakest player on your team. So we try to build everybody up to be strong. We put time into everybody.

Check with Cagewriter tomorrow for the final part of our interview with Rashad Evans, where he tells us about GSP's favorite song, and who he would rather face, his mom or Lyoto Machida.

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