After a 14 month layoff Rashad Evans finally stepped back into the Octagon last night and immediately got back to winning ways with a second round TKO over Tito Ortiz.
Speaking to Sherdog.com backstage after the fight Evans admitted it was a relief to get back to fighting after such a long time out.
“It felt good because it was such a long layoff and there’s a lot of questions that have to be answered, mostly by myself going into that situation. I believed in my training and I believed in my coaches and I believed in my training partners and everybody, the management staff. They believed in me so I knew I was in the best position of my life and just kept pushing me forward.”
This was also Evans first fight since splitting from Greg Jackson’s camp, now surrounding himself with the likes of K-1 star Tyrone Spong and coach Mike Van Arsdale and he was happy with how that worked out.
“It felt good, I got the one-on-one time that I needed. I went out there and fought the way I knew I could fight.”
His opponent Ortiz had been on something of a swift resurgence lately after a win over Ryan Bader, but despite momentum going into the fight, in the end Evans didn’t feel under any major threat from him during the fight.
“No not really, not really. I knew he was gonna go out pretty hard, I expected that, but he didn’t pose any problems that worried me too much.”
Moving on to the end of the fight, Evans revealed that he felt sure he was confident that the fight was going in his favor before the big knee that eventually took the wind out of Ortiz’s sails.
“I knew if I got it in side control it was a wrap. I’d just keep hitting him and keep hitting him, and I knew eventually he would break…but he was kind of hard to hit in that position because he covered up so well and it was really hard for me to daze him in that position. When he offered me that knee I couldn’t pass it up, I just had to do it.”
Now Evans is guaranteed to face the winner of next month’s Jon Jones Vs ‘Rampage’ Jackson fight, and while he insists he’ll be happy to face whoever the winner is, it’s clear he really wants a shot at his former team-mate.
“It all depends, if Rampage goes out there, looks impressive and knocks out Jones then that’s who I want, I want Rampage, but you know, I definitely want to get a chance to get my hands on Jon. Jon thinks he’s the best, but he’s not.”
Finally, backstage after the fight Evans was sporting a cast on his arm, but he insists it’s not something that’ll keep him out of action for long.
“Nothing to serious, just a little dislocation. I banged it up a little bit early in the first round, but it’s not going to cause me no problems, I should be back and ready to go in a couple of weeks.”
Watch his full post-fight interview below.