After seeing Anderson Silva's TKO victory over Chael Sonnen at UFC 148, Rashad Evans decided to "pick a fight" with the middleweight champion. Evans is coming off a decision loss to Light Heavyweight kingpin Jon Jones, so many fans took issue with him possibly being granted an immediate fight against Silva. Only a couple of days later, Rashad's management released a statement saying he had no plans to drop down. Now, it appears that Rashad is indeed considering a permanent drop to the middleweight division.
In an interview with ESPN.com Evans said:
I've been thinking about going down to middleweight lately. I haven't totally made up my mind. It's something I'm going to think about a little more in the coming months and see where my body's at, but I'm definitely giving it serious consideration. The odds of me moving down to 185 are 50-50 or better.
Analysis after the jump...
A 185 lb. "Sugar" Rashad Evans would be great for the UFC middleweight division, especially now that he was so soundly defeated by Jon Jones at UFC 145. Jones completely dominated the former champion and no one is calling for that rematch. At middleweight, many people think Evans could give even Anderson Silva a run for his money and there's no doubt that he'd be competitive with everyone else at the top of the division, too. However, this decision would obviously have a huge impact on Rashad's career and there are plenty of factors to consider:
The last thing I want to do is move down and become half the athlete I am at 205. That's something that happened to me while wrestling in college (at Michigan State). I cut too much weight, and if I had competed one weight class higher I would have had a better career.
A move to 185 will be permanent. But what I've been thinking about also is that I'm one of the top contenders at 205, so there really is no reason for me to move other than fighting some different people. At 205 I fight tough guys anyway. Jon Jones is a tough dude.
I'm a 205-pound fighter and the reason I've been successful is that I have attributes that, being a smaller guy, I'm able to bring, like having the speed advantage, things like that. It's something I might not necessarily have at 185. That's something I have to think about as well.
These are legitimate concerns from Rashad and the significant impact of cutting an extra 20 lbs, while still being able to perform at the highest level, should not be understated. Still, a title fight against Anderson Silva is a huge upside to the argument for him changing divisions.
More quotes from Evans about the weight cut and Anderson Silva.
"I'm pretty sure I can make the cut, but I've never been down that low. If I decide to move down, I will do a practice cut first to make sure my body can do it. That will determine whether I can fight at middleweight or not.
Yes, I would like to fight Anderson at 185. Don't get me wrong, Anderson is my favorite fighter. He's somebody I've looked up to for a long time. But if I had the chance to fight Anderson, it would be a dream come true. I'd like to go right into a title fight, but realistically there are other contenders at 185, and to skip over everybody wouldn't be fair. So, it would make sense for me to establish myself in the weight class and have a fight or two, whatever the case may be.