Apr 21, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Jon Jones (red trunks) fights Rashad Evans in the main event and light heavyweight title bout during UFC 145 at Philips Arena. (Paul Abell-US PRESSWIRE)
Rashad Evans has nothing to be ashamed of after his UFC 145 loss to Jon Jones. Jones has proven to be a wrecking ball while ascending to the pinnacle of the sport and, despite continued nonsense about Evans having a "weak chin," Jones was unable to put Evans away despite landing solid shots throughout five rounds.
Evans has made his mark at 205 over his time in the UFC, regardless of the losses to Lyoto Machida and Jones, Evans has proven to be one of the better light heavyweights the sport has ever seen. I don't imagine any future fight between Jones and Evans is going to play out much differently than what we witnessed last night.
"I'm a 205-pounder," Evans said. "I've only lost twice and I lost to a good competitor ... But if an opportunity happens at 185, I'll take it. But I like 205, I'll just have to work my way back up and get back to a title shot."
I really hope someone can convince Evans that the move is the right thing to do at this point in his career.
Despite winning the Ultimate Fighter as a heavyweight, Evans is a small light heavyweight. While how something looks and how something actually is are often different, it doesn't look like cutting to middleweight would be that difficult for Rashad.
And, in an era where we're looking for championship level fighters (which Rashad is, mind you, just in a division with a freak of nature on top) to change divisions and fight each other, Rashad Evans moving to 185 and fighting Anderson Silva is a fight that seems all too possible.
Silva going to 205 to fight the huge Jones is asking an awful lot, same with Georges St. Pierre jumping to 185 to fight Silva. But Evans, a small 205'er, cutting to 185 and fighting Silva, a fairly big 185'er who has had success at 205, seems like it's a fight that would be contested on a pretty level playing field.
Evans' striking and wrestling presents a deeply intriguing challenge to Silva, while Silva's pinpoint striking accuracy, relationship with Machida and jiu-jitsu game off his back represent an equally interesting puzzle for Rashad. It's actually close to a perfect fight on paper.
And beyond the obvious fight with Silva, who wouldn't want to see Evans take on Mark Munoz, Chael Sonnen, Vitor Belfort, Wanderlei Silva, Tim Boetsch and even a rematch with Michael Bisping now that both are completely different fighters from their first meeting?
Evans also represents a high level superstar that middleweight needs with Silva's retirement looming. Aside from Sonnen, there's no one really at 185 right now who has a superstar "aura." Evans is someone who can carry the division for years after Silva hangs up his gloves.
While I think directly after a fight is a hard time for a fighter to make big decisions about his future, here's hoping someone gets in Rashad's ear and convinces him that his brightest future is at 185 pounds.