Rashad Evans was a guest on the Jim Rome Show today, and appeared to impress the host with his thoughts on a variety of topics from explaining how he got started in the sport to discussing his recent victory over Rampage Jackson.
Check out the audio here, and read some interesting comments he had to say about the pressure he felt coming into the fight below.
On the pressure he felt leading up to the fight: “I’ll tell you what, walking into the arena was probably the hardest walk of my life, you know what I’m saying? Just because, when you have so much hype on a situation and you in your mindset no what you wanna do, you put a lot of pressure on yourself, and then you don’t want to go out there and not do your best. So that was the longest walk man, the walk into that cage.”
“Even in camp it was hard because my coaches tell me, ‘your in the best shape you’ve ever been in, your better than you’ve ever been,’ and their kinda telling you all this stuff so you don’t wanna let them down first and foremost, that’s what I’d be hurt the most at, if I let down the people who really, really believed in me, you know.
Then you got this Countdown show behind it, and I said everything I was gonna do, even though, against my mom’s best wishes, she said, ‘Rashad, don’t go in there telling him what your gonna do,’ and I did it anyways, you know what I’m saying? So I had all that pressure and I would have been sick, I would still be sick about it [if I’d lost.] I’d probably still be in the basement or something with the blinds shut you know, not even shaving or brushing my teeth, just looking horrible you know, not even eating – so depressed.”
It’s interesting to hear that Evans was feeling under pressure before the fight – I wrote after the fight that Rashad did look nervous both at the weigh-ins, and in the minutes before the first bell rang.
Rampage appeared to be handling the pressure better, but he also noted similar feelings of being under pressure at the post-fight press conference.
“You know, I’ve never had pressure like that ever in my whole fighting career. Having this damn movie, I almost regret even doing it. There was so much pressure. Fox threatened to sue me if I lost because they didn’t know I was fighting. I’ve just never faced this pressure before in my life.”
As the UFC continues to grow the level of hype surrounding major fights is only going to increase, and fighters will increasingly have to prepare not only to beat their opponents, but also to cope with the weight of expectation placed upon their shoulders when they enter the octagon.