In the past he’s gone after fighters like Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Jon Jones, using verbal sparring to attack before they ever get the chance to step foot in the Octagon.
Now Evans faces up-and-coming light heavyweight Phil Davis, and again the former champion is having some fun toying with his opponent.
Davis hasn’t fought in nearly a year after suffering a knee injury that forced him out of a scheduled bout with Evans in August 2011, but his pedigree remain the same.
Davis is a former NCAA champion wrestler from Penn State University. It’s no secret that he’s used his wrestling in virtually every fight he’s had in his young career. Meanwhile, Evans himself was a starter for the Michigan State wrestling squad.
It’s no surprise then that Evans is convinced he’s already got Davis doubting himself because the one area Davis is supposed to be better at, he knows he’s not.
“Of course I’m in his head because Phil Davis knows a few things and he knows no matter what, I’m a better wrestler than him. He can win an NCAA championship or whatever, but he knows if I was in that weight class that year he wouldn’t have won anything,” Evans told MMAWeekly Radio.
“When it comes to MMA wrestling, he’s definitely not a better wrestler when it comes to that. That bothers him and it actually makes him a little bit afraid as well.”
Why does it make Davis afraid?
Well, Evans says the fear will creep up in Davis’ mind if the takedowns don’t happen because he just doesn’t have an adequate back-up plan.
“When he gets hit on his feet and he can’t go to his safety zone, which is on the ground, then he starts going into panic mode,” Evans stated.
“When you start going into panic mode, you start thinking about ‘oh my God I’m getting hit, oh my God I’m losing the fight, oh my God there isn’t anywhere in this fight where I can go where I’m safe, let me find a way out of this.’ Then you start looking for your way out.”
The way out is a loss and Evans is more than happy to hand it to him.
On the flipside, what if Davis is able to get Evans down on the mat with one of his takedowns? Again, Evans shows no fear in what danger Davis presents in that area because getting him down is one thing.
Keeping Rashad Evans down is another.
“I’m not worried about getting taken down. I feel pretty comfortable on my back. I feel like there’s really nobody that can hold me down,” Evans said. “I feel like I can get up on anybody, and I have gotten up on almost everybody I go with, so I’m not really worried about being taken down. Cause if he takes me down, he’s going to have to keep taking me down because I’m going to keep getting back up.”
The end result in Evans’ mind is that this fight is just too much, too soon for Phil Davis. One day he may develop into a great champion, but now it’s Evans’ time and he’s not going to let anyone deny him a shot at the UFC light heavyweight title.
To listen to the full interview with Rashad Evans, tune into MMAWeekly Radio on Tuesday afternoon.