Dana White has made it clear that was not a fan of Rashad Evan’s decision last year to sit on the sidelines for the best part of a year while waiting for a title shot against Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua, and when ‘Suga’ found himself injured earlier this year and unable to take the fight, some speculated that his chance to reclaim the 205lb belt had now gone.
Even as recently as last week Evans admitted that he was not sure what would come next for him, but in a new interview with Ariel Helwani, White reveals that the fighter is still next in line for the title shot.
“If I was Rashad I would say whoever wins this fight [between Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua and Jon Jones at UFC 128] I want to fight,” White stated.
When prompted by Helwani to confirm that Evans is still the No.1 contender the UFC president agreed.
“Yeah, I mean the guy got injured, he was next in line to fight, I’d want to fight him too, but now he’s got to sit around, he’s got to wait and see what happens with these two. He’s got to wait and see who wins, do they come out 100% or are they injured and have to wait a little while, or do they want to fight again.
You know, he’s put himself in a bad position, and that’s what I was saying about him. He’s boxed himself into this corner. There’s a very small window of opportunity when you are a fighter, OK. You have a small window of opportunity to get out there, fight as much as you can, and accomplish as many great things as you can.”
So, with Evans now back in pole position for the title shot, the big question is whether he would be willing to fight his team-mate Jon Jones should he claim the belt on Saturday night.
At this stage it’s looking more and more likely that he will. Jones recently indicated that he’d fight his training partner if the UFC asked him too, something that appeared to take Evans by surprise, and as a result he has indicated he might even consider leaving the Jackson’s MMA training camp altogether.
“If we agree to fight, if we say we are going to fight, it’s over,” Evans stated on ProMMARadio yesterday.
“I just have to sit down and decide on what’s its going to be, because whatever it is going to be, there is no going back. There is no making it better. There is no going back to the team after it is done.”
While Evans is clearly still wrestling with this major decision, Dana White believes it’s no big deal.
“Listen, you look through the history of boxing, guys used to have to spar with each other all the time, and the guys that came in as sparring partners eventually became world champions some day. You have to train with other people, you have to train with the best, it’s a fact. You just don’t become such close friends that you don’t want to fight each other. It’s bullsh*t.”
Watch White’s full interview with Ariel Helwani below courtesy of MMAfighting.