Rashad Evans: If Jon Jones Was So Great, He’d Have Taken the Fight

May 24, 2011
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Rashad Evans

If Rashad Evans had his way, he’d be fighting Jon Jones this September in Denver, but he’s happy to face Phil Davis instead because he’s not sure his former training partner ever really wanted to fight him in the first place.

The controversy between Evans and Jones has fired up ever since Jones stepped in to replace Evans at UFC 128 and defeated Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua to claim the UFC light heavyweight title. From that point on, the one time friends and teammates became bitter rivals.

According to the former light heavyweight champion, all the talk surrounding a fight between he and Jones for UFC 133 in Philadelphia are false because they were never scheduled to fight in August.

Evans says he was in talks to face Jones in Denver at a show that is currently rumored to take place on Sept. 24, almost eight weeks after the date of UFC 133.

“Me and Jon had a tentative date scheduled and I know this because we had the same management team. It was in Denver, it was in September. Upon that date being tentatively scheduled, Malki (Kawa) and Jon decided that Jon needed to (undergo) a thumb surgery, which he didn’t need, which didn’t inhibit him from becoming the world champion, but all of a sudden he needs this thumb surgery. After that, he did not get the surgery, but they already pulled out of the fight and said he won’t be able to fight,” Evans said when appearing on MMAWeekly Radio.

“So given all of what I just said, it doesn’t seem like Jon really wants to fight me at all because he had an opportunity to fight me, but he decided to pass it up to get some elective surgery, which he didn’t have. So everything that he says after this is now after the fact and it doesn’t really matter to me.”

This revelation differs from the point of view expressed by Jones’ manager Malki Kawa, who stated recently in an interview with MMAWeekly.com that they were told an Aug. 6 date by the UFC, and Evans was pushing for that date as well.

“Rashad was pushing for an August fight. I think the UFC wanted that fight to happen in August as well. We said to him since the beginning his hand was hurt, we couldn’t commit to an August fight, based on the timeline, he needed some time off,” Kawa stated.

Evans and Jones were once under the same management team lead by Kawa and partner Glenn Robinson. Recently, the team split apart under amicable circumstances with Jones staying under Kawa’s management team and Evans going with Robinson.

While the once partners have maintained a professional relationship after working together, Evans points to his deteriorating relationship with Kawa as to one of the reasons he no longer wanted to be represented by his now former manager.

“To be honest, I think that probably me and Malki had a disagreement that kind of soured the whole relationship in a lot of ways. Malki was very vocal and saying things like ‘Jon Jones is going to destroy me’ and stuff like that when he’s supposed to be representing me,” Evans revealed.

“He’s saying to people and he doesn’t know who these people are and he’s speaking loud because Malki has a very big mouth, and he just wants to be heard. So he’d say things to people and then people that I know would get back to me and be like ‘listen bro I really care about you, and I don’t think that you’re being represented in the right light. You need to talk to your management team and get a new manager.’ They wouldn’t tell me what they meant because they didn’t want to cause conflict, but they wanted to tell me what I needed to know.”

Evans says the situation hit a fever pitch when a close friend revealed what past accomplices had left out.

“One of my friends pulled me to the side and said ‘you need to adjust this Malki because Malki is your manager, he needs to stop going around saying he represents you in one breath and the next breath saying that Jon Jones is going to destroy you.’ Whether he believes that or not, that’s irrelevant,” said Evans.

“The simple fact that he’s going around saying he represents you and then he’s spitting venom on your name. When in reality, he’s got two clients he should on the outside at least look like he’s representing them both to the fullest and not putting one above the other.”

In the end, Evans claims it did cause problems between him and his former manager.

“That caused a big conflict in the whole situation,” Evans stated.

Regardless of past situations with management or even now that the fight with Jon Jones isn’t happening, Evans is moving on and focusing on the task at hand.

He faces a former NCAA champion at UFC 133 in Philly, and while he still has a burning desire to face Jon Jones, Evans knows that Phil Davis deserves his utmost respect and attention.

“Right now my focus is on Phil Davis, and Phil Davis deserves my respect and deserves my full attention because you know what? This kid is no joke,” Evans said.

“Jon Jones, he had his chance. Jon Jones if he really thought he was as great as he was, he would have took the fight. If he’s so great, if he’s so good, if he’s going to smash me and all the other things he said he was going to do, then he would have took the fight. The simple fact that he didn’t take the fight, it makes me believe that’s not the case.”

Here’s a clip from Evans’ recent appearance on MMAWeekly Radio Weekend Edition

Damon Martin is the lead staff writer and radio host for MMAWeekly.com.
@DamonMartin on Twitter or e-mail Damon a question or comment.

Follow MMAWeekly.com on Twitter and Facebook.

  • BigGuy

    Is RETARD Evan serious? Why would Jones be afraid of him? Jones, from what he has shown us, is far superior to Evans. There is no doubt that Jones is hands down the better fighter!

    I just hope Davis beats Retard Evan’s ass so we can stop hearing him talk about beating a guy he has no right facing (Jones)!!!!

    Retard Evans SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • phrankthetank

      I see what you did there… Calling him Retard instead of Rashad… Very clever, I also enjoyed how you capitalized The word “retard” the first time you used it, just so everyone could see how clever you are.

    • kjonesbeatdown

      How can you say that Rashad has no right facing Jones? Rashad did win the fight to become #1 contender, and was given the title opportunity before Jones. I just don’t see how you can say Rashad doesn’t deserve his shot when he has proven it already. And how can you say he doesn’t care about being the best? I thought if you held the belt you were considered the best. He wants to fight Jon Jones who people consider the best. I just don’t understand your logic of thinking

      • kjonesbeatdown

        Sorry last part was meant to be in reply to another person’s statement.

  • Mario

    I don’t think Jones is afraid of Rashad. That’s hilarious actually. When this fight happens, I see Jones running through Evans. He’s way too small. If Shogun couldn’t do anything, imagine Evans.

    • wonggfan

      It’s not going to be a one-sided beatdown like Fedor/Lesnar vs Herring, but we all know who is going to dominate.

      I take it back. It is not going to be a one-side beatdown like Fedor v Yuji Nagata or Lesnar v Minsoo Kim. It will be more like Fedor/Lesnar v. Herring.

  • phrankthetank

    Evans is most likely going to be beaten by Jones if/when they do fight, but he’ll make it a better fight than most people seem to think.

    • wonggfan

      What a vague statement…

      Most MMA fans know that it’s not going to be a cakewalk for Jones. At the level they are fighting, the fight will not be a one-sided beatdown (e.g. Lesnar/Fedor vs Herring).

      However, all MMA fans know that Jones will very very very likely win.

      so your statement is EPICFAILURE!

      • phrankthetank

        It’s funny you seem to believe you speak for most MMA fans when most of your comments are brash and insulting to not only the fighter you think will lose, but also to those who support that fighter. I was recently at UFC 129, as well as the expo (you know, the event with over 55 000 MMA fans) most of the people I talked to believe that jones will hand Rashad a seriously one sided beating. All I was trying to establish with my comment is that I disagree, I think Evans will put up a good fight and that he is a talented fighter. Also “epic” and “failure” are two separate words 😉

        • wonggfan

          (1) UFC fanboys at expos tend to be kinda slow and have no knowledge of MMA. I’ll bet you that 30% of them haven’t even seen Saku’s UFC fight, 20% of them didn’t see Shogun v. Rampage when that fight actually took place, and 10% of them haven’t even seen Fedor vs Nog.
          (2) UFC fanboy =/= MMA fan
          (3) again, define “good fight”
          (4) EPICFAILURE, when used all cap + without space is a term.

          • phrankthetank

            1. you’re right, all the guys from all the MMA gyms in toronto, and all the guys competing in grapplersquest (which happened at the expo) are UFC fanboys. Just because people haven’t seen fights that happened years and years ago, doesn’t mean they’re not true MMA fans. If you are a fan, then you would realize the sport is evolving constantly and successful fighters have evolved with it, making 10 yr old fights hardly relevant.
            2. armchair warrior does not equal MMA fan
            3. Rashad will close the distance, trying to put jones against the cage and negate his range. from there he will try to work short punches to the body and head and work for takedowns. Shogun was scared going into his fight and got slaughtered, Evans will offer Jones the biggest challenge of his career thus far. Due to his wrestling background, if Jones doesnt react well to the pressure and goes for the takedown, Rashad will have a good chance of sprawling. Jones should still be able to capitalize, but we should see him in more trouble than he’s been in before.
            4. I apologize, I speak English, not Geek

          • phrankthetank

            In addition, get out and converse with people before you judge their intelligence. Its all speculation until you get off the computer and out of the basement.

  • collideoverme

    C’mon Rashad! Really? It sounds like the only spitting venom is you!

  • wonggfan

    This is why I can’t stand Rashad. He is at best a top 5 fighter who thinks he is top 2.

    Well, let’s look at his last 6 fights:

    Liddell: good job. You KOed a dude that just lost to Keith Jardine.
    Forrest: This fight shows more about Forrest than Evans. That is, Forrest was overrated.
    Lyoto: Gets outclassed.
    T. Silva: boring. really not impressive.
    Rampage: The most notable moment in the fight was when Rampage pwned Evans in the 3rd round.

    And this is supposed to be a champion material? Evans is the LHW version of Kenny Florian, a pernennial #4 or #5 guy.

    Why isn’t Rashad begging for a rematch with Lyoto or a fight with Shogun, two people that will most likely beat him?

    The answer is, he doesn’t care about being the best. He just wants to hold the belt even if it means losing it right away.

    If Rashad loses to Shogun/Lyoto, his career will be in serious trouble. The loss would mean that he has win 3 consecutive bouts against the likes of Lil Nog/Bader/Phil Davis.

    If Rashad loses to Jon Jones, he can go after Shogun or Lyoto rematch. That will give him more time to prolong his relevancy in MMA.

    • BigGuy

      SOOO TRUE! Retard Evans is only interested in being the champ. He is absolutely not worthy of the shot anyway. He has done nothing to prove he is a top end guy, and he won’t be around too much longer. His last fights have been very lackluster, and his future fights look to be about the same. IF he gets past Davis, he is walking into territory he doesn’t belong in: a title fight!

      Evans is, in my opinion, maybe a top 10 fighter. I wouldn’t give him any credit as far as a top 5 guy.

      • kjonesbeatdown

        You guys are obviously Rashad haters because you are saying things that don’t make any sense. IMO, Jones does have the better chance to win but you are selling Rashad short.. apparently out of spite. If you don’t think Rashad is Top 5 in the division than your crazy. If you don’t think he is Top 10, then your ignorant. Who deserves to be ahead of him? Last time I looked, all that matters is winning. Rashad has done that time and time again. He has lost once his whole career and has beat the who’s who of the 205 division. And in regards to the competition Rashad has beat: Rashad KO’ed a legend that started a string of KO’s that he never recovered from. Your right, Forrest is so overrated.. so overrated that he managed to win the title in the best division in the UFC. Come on now. He still got wins against Silva and Rampage whether you think it was boring or he got lucky or not. The only person that you could even give a small arguement for being ranked ahead of Rashad is Machida, and only because he beat Rashad. Even though Machida has last 2 of his last 3 (should be 3 of his last 4). I understand you thinking Jones will destroy Rashad but keep the stupid talk out of it

        • wonggfan

          Hi Mrs. Evans!

          • kjonesbeatdown

            Haha call me what you want. I’m being a realist.. your just being a Rashad hater

    • phrankthetank

      It makes me laugh that you play down the victories of anyone you dont like. He KO’ed Chuck, he beat Griffin. He got beaten by Machida, realized that he needed to start using his wrestling again, not just his striking (which is actually pretty good). He shut down silva, yea, it wasn’t entertaining, but it was smart, and he did the same thing to rampage. The fact of the matter is that the guy is a fighter, he’s fought some of the best LHWs in the world, and wants to continue to fight the best in the world. Why the HELL would rashad Evans ask for machida or shogun when he can fight the champion???

      • wonggfan

        It makes me laugh that you twist the issue like that.

        No one booed him when he refused the Machida rematch. People are making a fuss over his comments against Jones. Why the hell would Jones, who just beat Shogun brutally, be afraid of Rashad, a fighter that is a notch below Shogun?

        1. Jones
        2. Shogun
        3. Lyoto
        4. Evans
        5. Rampage
        6. Bader
        7. Davis
        8. Forrest
        9. Lil Nog
        10. Hamill

        I think Evans is #4 but believes that he is #2. If he is a true fighter, why not fight Shogun or Lyoto before Jones?

        • phrankthetank

          why would Evans want to take a fight with shogun or machida if he’s getting offered Jones? if someone offered you a position as CEO, would you respond with “nah, I’d rather be VP and work my way up”? stop hating on a guy for making smart career choices.

        • phrankthetank

          Also – shogun got demolished, he is not the no 2 right now, and machida got beaten twice by shogun (regardless of the scorecards) and then lost to rampage before beating couture, how does that put him at no.3? You’re a machida and shogun fanboy apparently.

  • denarius13

    Holy Im gonna go out on a limb and guess alot of people that post on here are keyboard warriors and not actual mma fighters. BIgGUY are u drunk,u say Rashad is only interested in being champion like its a bad thing,lol. If thats not why ur in the UFC you shoudlnt be there. Next hes fought whos put in front of him. Its the UFCs decision. And Lyoto was comming off losses why go down in ranking to fight and risk his number 1 spot.

    The funniest thing is I dont even like Rashad as a fighter,I also am a big fan of Jones. But like former coaches and several fighters have said,who do you think gave Jones the biggest problems in training,u guessed it Rashad. He also got told when Jones was prepping for a fight to let him up during training cause he was one of the few that could put him down and keep him there.

    Just cause a guy has a big mouth doesnt mean hes not a good fighter. To even be in the Ufc u have to be a top level fighter. Maybe u didnt notice how Rashad won the ultimate fighter vs guys bigger than him. & after all the shit talk between them,I doubt in Jones belief of beating Rashad too after he talks all that shit then pulls out of the fight with something so minor.

    I know jones has been devastating so far but come on,u guys make him sound like hes invincable. hes extremely good but not invincable. I agree with u phrankthe tank why fight guys that the UFC ranks below you. How can u rank lyoto ahead of him when hes won since and lyoto lost twice since & his win was vs an old man.

    I believe Rashad would give Jones his toughest fight in the UFC. To beat Jones I believe u need top level takedowns& wrestling or top notch striking with takedown defence.

  • denarius13

    I believe the LHW top Ten is as follows
    5.Phil davis
    7.Matt hamil
    8Ryan bader
    This is just my opinion. But Rashad has a big mouth & people judge him by that,he speaks his mind openly & doesnt act fake like alot of fighters including Jones(who as a fighter I love)do. It seems like the society we live in now,people would rather have people act fake& nice then be REAL & speak their minds!