With a win over Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson in one of the biggest fights of the year at UFC 114, former UFC light-heavyweight champion Rashad Evans earned himself another shot at the title against Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua.
There was only one catch – Shogun required knee surgery and so he’d have to wait before the two would meet in the octagon.
At the time Evans said he was happy to wait, but as the date for the champion’s return to action continues to be pushed further and further back the former TUF season 2 winner’s patience has finally began to wear thin.
If things go according to plan Rua could now be back by March, but UFC president Dana White has also suggested that any unforeseen complications could see the fight pushed back to May or June, by which time both fighters would have been out of action for a full year.
That’s news didn’t go down particularly well with Evans.
“It’s just frustrating,” Evans tells ESPN.com. “I am a fighter and I need to make a living doing this, but at the same time it’s about getting that gold. But if the gold is something that I’m not going to get an opportunity to fight for then I have to face that possibility and move forward and do some other things. If I don’t get the chance to fight for the belt, I will never ask to fight for this belt again. I will never want to fight for that belt again.”
It’s a bold statement, and one that’s left Dana White scratching his head.
“That’s the weirdest comment I have ever heard in my life. He is scheduled to fight [Rua] in March,” White says when told of the fighter’s reaction, adding, “It’s not like we were keeping him from fighting, he chose to wait for Shogun. It’s not our fault; Shogun had knee surgery.”
Evans has also suggested that perhaps an interim title should be created if Shogun’s injury woes continue to keep him out of action beyond the timeline that was originally scheduled, but White seems to have his mind set that this won’t be happening, noting that they tend to create such title when they have no idea when the champion will be able to return.
Still, despite Evans frustration the UFC president doesn’t seem to be taking offense and appear willing to shrug off the comments.
“Personally, I have a great relationship with Rashad. He’s a great guy. When you meet him outside, he’s a great guy. But when it comes to fighting, he is a complete head case.”
In a way I’m glad that Evans has finally showed some sign of caring about this as for quite some time now it’s seemed as if he’s been quite happy to just sit on the sidelines. I share his current frustrations but apparently he was offered a rematch with Machida in September and turned it down because he wanted to wait for his title shot though so really he only has himself to blame.
Really all we can do at this stage is keep our fingers crossed that Shogun’s knee surgery has been a complete success and they can fight each other in March as planned as it does no-one any favors for the prestigious 205lb title to be put on ice for this long.