COMMENTARY | Former UFC light-heavyweight champion, Rashad Evans, is currently getting ready for his upcoming encounter against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. The two will meet at UFC 156, set for Feb. 2, at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nev.
Evans is obviously focused on getting past Nogueira at UFC 156, but a potential fight against middleweight champion, Anderson Silva, is also on his mind.
"It would be a tremendous honor to have held the belt in two different divisions, but also the chance to compete against Anderson Silva," Evans said during a UFC 156 media call. "He's one of my favorite fighters to watch, I get excited every single time I get a chance to watch him fight. When my career is all said and done, I want to be able to look back and say I competed against some of the best guys ever in history. For me to be able to get the chance to compete against Anderson Silva; it would be an amazing experience and something I'll take with me forever."
Evans has talked about his desire to square up against Silva in the past, so it's not that surprising that he still has his sights set on "The Spider." Rashad even thinks he'll emerge victorious if the two ever meet inside the Octagon.
"I believe I can beat Anderson Silva and I believe that the skills and stuff that I have is something he would have a hard time dealing with," Evans added. "But to compete against the guy, first and foremost, would be an honor in itself."
Things didn't go very well for Rashad during his last outing, losing his UFC 145 title encounter against Jon Jones (he lost via decision). Even with a win against Nogueira, Evans won't get another shot at the light-heavyweight title anytime soon.
However, there's a decent chance Rashad will get an automatic shot at the middleweight title if he decides to drop down to 185 pounds, considering the fact there isn't a clear number one contender in that division at the moment.
Even though Silva normally makes all those who dare oppose him look like amateurs inside the Octagon, Evans matches up well against the Brazilian. "Suga" is clearly one of the best wrestlers in the promotion, and he just might be able to grind his way to victory against Silva, like Chael Sonnen almost did at UFC 117.
Then again, Sonnen was aided by performance enhancing drugs (he had elevated testosterone levels), and Silva supposedly fought with a rib injury.
Sonnen had a hard time taking Silva down during their UFC 148 rematch, completing only one of his four takedown attempts (per Fightmetric.com).
While Silva's takedown defense/grappling seems to be his biggest weakness, the Brazilian has already secured wins against some serious ground fighters. The Spider has out-grappled guys like Dan Henderson, Travis Lutter, and Nate Marquardt in the past, which is no small feat by any standard.
Vitor Belfort's TKO victory against Michael Bisping at "UFC on FX 7" muddled the promotion's middleweight title picture, leaving Strikeforce champ, Luke Rockhold, as the only legitimate contender. Rockhold is a worthy challenger, but Evans is a bigger threat to Anderson's reign.
Besides his world-class wrestling skills, Evans' standup is also decent, and he's demonstrated his knockout power in the past. Since his days on the second season of "The Ultimate Fighter," Rashad has consistently defied the odds, making him the toughest opponent for Silva at the moment besides Jones of course.
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