Former UFC light heavyweight titleholder “Sugar” Rashad Evans could have more on the line in his UFC 156 co-main event with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira than just another solid win in the 205-pound division. Evans, with a win Saturday night, could find himself next in line to face middleweight champion Anderson Silva, if he decides to drop a weight class.
Evans has expressed interest in dropping down to the 185-pound division. He’s gone on record saying he feels he can defeat Silva, the top ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the world. The writing seems to be on the wall that the match-up could happen and is definitely being considered by UFC matchmakers.
“If Rashad won on Saturday night and wanted to go to 185, I would consider that (a match with Anderson Silva)” said UFC president Dana White.
The two candidates to face Silva in his next title defense are Chris Weidman and Rashad Evans. White confirmed that on Thurday at the UFC 156 media day, but didn’t make it clear who is more likely to face Silva next.
“Here’s the thing, a lot of people think that Chris Weidman is the number one contender right now. If Rashad made the move from 205 pounds to 185 pounds, it would be tough to say that he’s not the number one contender,” said White.
Evans made his way to the UFC via The Ultimate Fighter in the series’ second season. He won his way into the UFC competing as a heavyweight during that season of the reality show. Evans would go on to capture the UFC light heavyweight title at UFC 92 in late 2008 by defeating then-champion Forrest Griffin. All of Evans’ UFC fights, outside of The Ultimate Fighter Season 2 Finale, have taken place in the 205-pound weight class.
Weidman is undefeated, but isn’t near the level of Evans as far as popularity or name recognition.
White made it clear that if Evans wants to fight Silva, which he has stated that he does, Evans must take the fight in the middleweight division. There will be no catch-weight fights.