Some of the best fights, whether it’s boxing or MMA, happen when two guys dislike each other leading into the fight. That’s the case with this weekend’s main event at UFC 114. Rashad Evans and Quentin “Rampage” Jackson made it pretty clear during their season on the Ultimate Fighter. There were verbal altercations and nearly some physical altercations as well. Now, leading up to the fight, the emotions have boiled over leading up to the fight with a ton of trash-talking. Finally, on Saturday, all the trash-talking will stop and these two guys will finally get inside the Octagon and settle their differences once and for all.
Rashad Evans joined ESPN 1000 in Chicago with Waddle and Silvy to talk about his upcoming fight against Rampage Jackson, whether or not he and Rampage really don’t like each other, and gives his prediction on the fight.
For the guys that may never have tuned into a UFC fight, give us a scouting report on the guy that you are fighting
“He does a lot of slams, and stuff like that, but he’s mostly a power puncher. You know he really doesn’t do the ground game as much now. Now he pretty much just relies on his power and the big shots like that. Besides that, well that’s about it on the scouting report.”
Is there a real dislike between the two of you? I have obviously seen some of the footage, or is that just for show Rashad?
“No, no that’s all real, that’s all real. We had gotten into it when he fought my teammate (Keith) Jardine, and after that, he got into it on my personal time. And from then it was just like not liking each other. Then after the show on Ultimate Fighter 10, we got into it. At one point I thought that I was like a little kid again. I would go into practice and be like listen, I’m not getting into this little kid arguing back and forth, and next thing you know I find myself arguing with this fool. I’m like dang, how does he get me every single time?”
There was a time when Rampage was considered the baddest kid in the sport. Has that time come and gone now?
“Um ya, I think so. But there’s a lot that still think he’s that guy. In his last few fights I haven’t been overly impressed. Besides from the (Wanderlei) Silva fight, but besides that I haven’t been overly impressed. His performance is lazy. He’s a fighter that is pretty much ready to move on and do something else. He’s been in the game for a long time; he’s been in the game since I was a college wrestler. He’s been in the game fighting for a long time. And when we do anything for a long time, it starts to become a job. And it’s become a job for him, where as me, I still love it.”
I was just in Vegas to see the Maywhether vs. Mosley, the buzz there was, boy you just can’t compete the boxing game anymore with UFC with MMA. Tell us in your opinion where you think UFC is going these days.
“I think the sky is endless for UFC. I think this is going to be the first fight where it has the hype and fear of a big big boxing match. I think they did a real good job of promoting the fight as well as capitalizing on the fact that I and Rampage don’t like each other. I think the sky is the limit of where it can go as a sport. And the response we are getting to this as a fight, the people that are viewing are going to tell us where the sport can really go in the next few years.”
Rashad you are 30 years old, how much longer can you participate in this sport?
“I’m just doing this as long as God allows me to have the ability to do it. I just go out there and do what God gave me and just have fun with it. You know it might be my next fight, who knows it may be this fight which is my last one. But I never know man, I always say when it starts to feel like a job and I’m not liking it anymore, and I’m ready to move on, I’ll move on because that’s when I’ll be hurt and not focused.”
Then the obvious question, you have heard in the movies before. Your prediction on the fight Rashad?
“Well like I’ve been saying, it’s hard to call a prediction. Whenever I try to do a prediction I always find myself having some idea of how I see it going to happen and I try to make that happen, instead of just allowing it to happen. So I’m just going to stay away from prediction. I’m going to only predict that I win.”
Listen to Rashad Evans on ESPN 1000 in Chicago here (Audio begins 1:53:00 into the podcast)