Cagewriter - Mixed Martial Arts

In the final installment of Rashad Evans' talk with Cagewriter, he talks about his mom, what he said to Lyoto Machida just before getting knocked out, and the bond among the fighters at Greg Jackson's.

In addition to wanting to fight Thiago Silva, you've said that you want to fight Anderson Silva. 

I would love to fight Anderson.

What would you do differently to make you win?

I don't know. I don't know what I would do differently. But, I think I'd be able to match him in a lot of strengths. Anderson is very tricky, and so I'd have to get a few tricks, as well. It would be a fun fight, because Anderson is the man. You have nothing to lose. And he's such a nice dude. He's cool like Denzel Washington.

I was sitting next to him at UFC 102, and he is just super-cool, and he can speak English a lot better than he lets on. He said, (slipping into Anderson Silva impression) "Yeah, Brandon Vera, he needs to, ah, throw more elbows." There was this fan that made a dash for him, and she dipped under the rope, but the security stopped her. She did it two more times, and was about to get kicked out. Then I told him, "I think that girl wanted you." And he said, "Me? Oh." And he goes over there, in the crowd, and takes a picture with her.

Fighters are starting flock to your training home. Is Greg Jackson's getting too big?

I worry about that, but one thing that remains is that there's a core group. At our foundation, when we started, it was Diego Sanchez, Keith Jardine, Joey Villasenor, Nate Marquardt and myself. But since Diego went his own way, Georges came in. Around that, we all make sure that we're there for each other. We all remain close. The good thing about Jackson's is that there are so many good coaches everywhere that we can work with. We have Phil Nurse in New York City. We have Trevor Wittman in Denver, we have Mike Winkeljohn in New Mexico, we have Faras Zahabi in Montreal. We all have coaches that we can turn to, because sometimes Greg Jackson get spread so thin. He's traveling so much, and he's in everybody's corner, so he gets burned out. But he always tries to make time for his core guys.

One of the funnier things about UFC 100 was hearing Greg Jackson talk to GSP in the corner like Georges was a little kid. What did you think when he first did that with you?

The first time he did that, I was like, "What the hell are you talking about?" I'm tired as hell, and he said, "Calm down, breathe, breathe." Then he said something to me and had me repeat back what he said. They always do the same thing. When I'm in the fight, I'm ready for the next round. They're trying to give me directions, and I'm looking across the ring. But it does feel strange.

Like, with the Michael Bisping fight. I was exhausted after the first round. The first round, I felt like I went 15 rounds. I felt like something wasn't right with my body. I had the look in my eye like I couldn't go any more. And he said, "Rashad. Good first round. Really, really good first round. We need two more rounds just like that." I wanted to cry! What do you mean, two more rounds just like that? I was done. I can't go two more rounds. But he talked me through the next two rounds, and got me through it.

If you come and train at our gym, you gotta get your game up, because if you're not strong, I'm not strong. We've all got this symbiotic relationship with each other. We need each other to do well and train well, because it helps us all out. 

Out of all the camps, do you think Jackson's is the best?

I think Jackson's is the best because we don't just say we're teammates. We really care about each other and are really looking out for each other. We won't fight each other. Yeah, we could make a good payday. But when you're training with somebody every day unselfishly, you may not get anything out of it, but you're doing it because you want them to succeed. Their success is your success.

When you train like that, and you give everything you have, you could never fight somebody like that. Because once you fight someone, you cross a line that you'll never be able to get back. And once you have that in your mind, and you're thinking, I may fight him one day, you hold back. And he doesn't grow because you're holding back. That's what it means to be teammates.

So there is not an amount of money that would make you fight Keith Jardine?

No. At the end of the day, we're going to sit down somewhere and we're going to reflect on this whole experience of being a fighter. We're going to say, "Man, it went so fast, but didn't we have some fun in the meantime." And we'll be able to have a relationship for the rest of our lives, just based on the experience we're having right now. To me, that means more than money.

Money comes and goes. I may make a million dollars, then get a divorce and damn near lose all of it. Money will come and go. As long as you know how to make money, you'll always be able to make money. True wealth is not measured by how much money you've got in the bank or how many toys you've got. Some of the happiest people in the world don't have a crying quarter, but they've got all the things that mean a lot to them.

What were you saying to Lyoto Machida when he knocked you out?

I think my exact words were, "You hit like a bitch."

Are you going to keep talking like that in fights?

I'm not going to talk any more. I'll just think it. But even then, I thought I was just thinking it. I was so out of it that I was saying it. When I fight, part of the swagger that I had when I used to fight on the street comes out. When I fought on the street, I used to try to embarrass someone for even wanting to fight me. I would always talk shit. And now when I'm fighting, and really getting into it, I talk shit. It's not any disrespect to my opponent.  It just happens naturally, and I don't even know when I'm doing it. It's like an out-of-body experience when I'm in the zone.

Even in practice, when I'm sparring with David Loiseau, I'll hit him with a punch, then I'll just look at my fist. Or I'll hit him, put it in my pocket and say, "I'm not going to hit you with that any more." It's just fun. We're just having fun and clowning around.

Since you've entered the UFC, you've been a magnet for boos. Why do you think people don't like you?

It comes from one little person: Matt Hughes. Nah, I can't say it's all Matt Hughes, but when people have this perception of you (from Rashad's turn on "The Ultimate Fighter,") it's hard for them to change it. Their first impression was Matt Hughes saying stuff to me. It always goes back to that. I think that first impression has stuck. With me, I haven't done anything to to not reinforce that, because when I go out there and I fight, I am cocky.

I think you have to be cocky when you go out there and fight. Why do you think you could beat this guy? You have to be so confident that you can destroy this guy. Sometimes, when I'm going to fight, I have to think, I'm going to embarrass him. I'm going to destroy him. I'm going to make him wish he hadn't taken the fight. If he beats me, and they say, "You want to fight Rashad Evans again?" He'll think twice. That's my whole mindset. When I go in and fight, I'm not the same guy who is sitting in front of you, who is meeting the fans or anything like that. It's like a split personality. When you see a fighter in the realm of doing their sport, they're not the same person who sits in front of you. It's a different expression of themselves. When I go out and express myself in that way, that's just how I do it.

Does the booing bother you?

It used to, but now I'm so used to it, that if they didn't boo me, that would be strange. It's funny, I'll sign autographs all day, and everyone's my number one fan. Then they'll show me on the screen, and I'll get booed. I think, "I just signed a million autographs. Who is booing me?"

Does it upset your mom or wife?

It used to make my wife mad, but now she's used to it. My mom just discovered the internet, and she said, "Rashad, I was on these blogs, and why do these people say this? It's wrong!"

You've turned your mom into a character when you're on ESPN's MMA Live. How does she feel about that?

She's cool. She's used to us being silly. She laughs, and doesn't take it personally.

Did you know that she was going to call in?

No, I had no idea. The producer of the show kept asking me questions about my mom, and I'm just talking, saying whatever. Then he said, "We got to get her on one of these days." And I said yeah, I'll ask her, not thinking anything of it. Right before she came on, they said said, we're calling Mark Coleman, but tell us about your impression of Mike Tyson, and then I started doing the one of my mom, and then they put my mom on the line. I thought I was in trouble!

Do you still get smacks from your mom every now and then?

Oh yeah. My mom will give it to me in a second.

Who would you rather face, Lyoto Machida again or your mom?

I'd rather face Lyoto. My mom's a beast. But every time I've got a fight, she calls me. (dropping into impersonation of his mother) "Rashad, now I'm going to tell you, I know you've got a fight tomorrow. How you feel?" -- I feel good, Mom -- "Good Rashad. When you hit him, keep him hit, Rashad. Punches in bunches. You need to pass the guard like Joe Rogan said."

Do you do impressions of any of your teammates? GSP?

I think it hurts his feelings when we do GSP impressions. I try not to do it too much. Georges is sensitive. The one thing, he did make fun of himself. When the GSP song came out, he made fun of that, and kept saying "My A technique puts people down!" When that song first came out, we just kept playing it again and again. He said, (slipping into GSP impersonation)  "I don't like this because it makes me sound like a frog, like Kermit the Frog."  He was pissed about it.

Top illustration from the very cool Scritch and Scratch Blog

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