Rashad Evans Interview UFC Light Heavyweight Champ Interview with Rasahd 9 days after he wins the UFC title defeating Forrest Griffin Written by Penny Buffington Undefeated UFC fighter, Rashad Evans finished the year with a record of 13 wins no losses and 1 draw. He also dominated Forrest Griffin at UFC 92 on Dec 27th 2008 to become the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. I asked Rashad what happens as soon as you become the champ. He said, "They rush you off to a press conference. Then after that you get rushed to your after party and then you try to get some rest. But first, party all night." Since winning the title Rashad has been very busy with press obligations. Where he was born in Buffalo N.Y, they gave him the key to the city and their local newspaper The Niagara Gazette chose Rashad as the athlete of the year. Rashad said, "That was quite surprising to be honest. I didn’t expect any of that. To have my home town: it was a beautiful thing. Just because in Niagara Falls sometimes you don’t get the recognition you think you should get. I never really paid too much attention because my mom would be like the Niagara Falls Gazette doesn’t have anything about you fighting. I don’t know if it was because I moved to Michigan or whatever the case may be but they weren’t really following me to well and to have that finally from them to be: you’re the athlete of the year. That was pretty cool I liked that. The fight was 2 days after Christmas so I asked Rashad if he had, had a chance to celebrate the holidays yet. "Not really to be honest. I’m just getting back to my family and the domestic issues. I’m trying to take care of them because they supported me for the whole training and preparation for the fight. They gave me the space and time I needed to focus so I’m just trying to give some time to them so I can do it again in a few months. " Like any fighter with a family there is great sacrifice and separation. Rashad lives in Michigan yet he trains down in Albuquerque, New Mexico at Jacksons Mixed Martial Arts. I asked him if he packs up the family and takes them with him when he goes. "Yeah I do. Sometimes I will have them come out for a little bit. But to be at my best you have to be kind of selfish. To be selfish around your family is a really hard thing. Your child doesn’t understand you have a fight coming up, you know, he wants to play with you. He doesn’t want to see you sleep during the day because he wants to play and your wife she wants attention too. They don’t understand those things and it’s not for them to understand when you are with them your role with them is totally different. You’re not a fighter, you’re a husband and you’re a dad, and you have to fulfill that role. That can be exhausting to do when you are training for a fight and everything is about being in tune to you, being in tune with your body. How is your body feeling? How sore are you? Is everything ok? And to be selfish comes with being a fighter and does not go hand in hand with trying not to be selfish when trying to fulfill those other rolls." Rashad says before a fight he likes to train for an 8 week period. He explains, "I like to do an 8 week camp. Not because it takes 8 weeks, but because sometimes when you are in camp you may have a week or so where you get hurt or injured. Then, you know, you may need a little time to rest up and get your body ready. My camp always presents new obstacles for me. I’ve never had a camp where I wasn’t banged up at least a little bit where I needed to take a few days off. So having an 8 week camp allows me to not worry if I have a couple days off. It makes it so I don’t have to push it when I get a bruise or something that needs a couple of days to heal. When you do a 6 week camp, when you get a bump or bruise, you try to push through it. Sometimes that is not the best thing to do when you have got an injury." Where does Rasahd work out when he isn’t at Greg Jackson camp? "We have this hole in the wall little gym, that myself and this guy, Matt Torres, who got me into fighting, we fight at. It is just about a handful of people, 5 or 6 people: we just go in there and train. We are not trying to make any money, just a place where we can go and bang each other up." 29 year old Evans has a degree in psychology. I asked him if it helps him with the sport. "It helps me a lot. It helps me more or less, it sounds crazy enough, just to try and deal with me. Sometimes I’m actually a little lost. I’m a little insecure. My mind starts playing tricks on you when you have so much pressure on you. You have a big fight coming up, different thing, where you really have to be able to talk yourself into a good mental state. It also helps me play little games on people and stuff like that too. You know kind of mess with them a little bit." Rashad found a way to have confidence in himself before his fight against former champion Forrest. "I was feeling really confident. The confidence comes with being comfortable with the fact that how the fight may go no matter what. You know, I may go in there and have the best fight of my life. But I also may have the worst one. I can go in there and get knocked out. Or get beat to a pulp. That can happen. But once you are comfortable with that and that is a hard thing to get comfortable with. But once you get comfortable to really, really sit and think about it. Then you kind of free yourself to be confident and say whatever happen, happens. Because you can live with yourself either way and you try to go in there and you try to perform to the best of our abilities. If you win that is excellent. That is how you visualized it. But if you don’t, then you have got to go and work on things that make you better." I reminded Rashad though he has been holding the belt for a mere 9 days the line has already started to form for those who want to take it from him. I mentioned Forrest, Rampage and Chuck Liddell told the Sun Sentinel, "He has got the belt and I’ll take it." Rashad’s reply was, "I think that is exactly how he is supposed to feel. I like that fact that he wants to take the belt. Because that is what is going to keep me up at night, when I feel like going to sleep early. That is going to make me hop on that elliptical and buff out a little. Because I know they are on my heals. They want to be the one to beat me and give me my first lose and take the belt! They want me. It kind of makes me a little paranoid, but at the same time, I like paranoia." The interview ended with Rashad giving thanks. "I would like to thank the fans that support me because being a Rashad Evans fan is NOT an easy thing. Sometimes it may cause you to have an argument or a fight. I appreciate my fans for sticking with me and believing in me. Thank everybody else just for watching MMA and making the sport what it is today without them I wouldn’t be anything."