Rashad Evans still unsure about move to middleweight division

Rashad Evans. Photo by Jerico Angeles/Authentic Sports Management.

Following Rashad Evans’ one-sided decision loss to Jon Jones last spring, speculation began to arise that he may be interested in dropping down to the UFC’s middleweight division for a fresh start. A new weight class with new opponents and of course, a shot to test himself against Anderson Silva.

Evans has said that the idea certainly interests him, and that he would want nothing more than to be able to compete against and defeat Silva, whom he considers to be the greatest fighter of all-time.

On the eve of Evans’ meeting with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 156 this Saturday night, the 33-year-old is still unsure if a change to 185 lbs. suits him well.

“It would be a lifestyle change,” Evans said this week during a conference call with the media. “My whole diet would have to change. Naturally, I’m really short, but my body consistently goes to 230, 235 lbs. when I’m not training. So I would really have to change every little thing about my diet.

“If the opportunity was there at 185 and it was a good idea for me to do it, then I would do so. One reason that I decided not to do it was that I asked myself, ‘Why would I want to be in the same spot at 185 lbs. that I’m also in at 205 lbs.?’ It didn’t make any sense to me. So if an opportunity came along that made more sense, then it would be worth the sacrifice. Right now if I dropped down, I’d be in the same place in that division, so why cut those 20 extra pounds?"

Evans’ place at middleweight would certainly not be at the same at light heavyweight, where he currently maintains a gatekeeper-like status after falling short in his last two championship bouts. And there is still light at the end of the tunnel, as Jones has noted he wouldn’t mind facing Evans again.

But because of the cluster of contenders at the top of the UFC’s middleweight division, Evans’ place would have to be determined by UFC matchmaker’s Joe Silva and Sean Shelby. The former “TUF” winner certainly wouldn’t have to work his way back up the ladder, but he may have to pick up a win or two in the division before a shot at “The Spider”.

Still, Evans isn’t too keen on absolutely ruling out a chance at making history.

“It would be a chance to hold a belt in two different divisions, but also a chance to compete against Anderson Silva,” Evans said. “He’s one of my favorite fighters to watch. I get excited every time I have the chance to watch him fight.

“When my career is all said and done, I want to be able to say that I competed against some of the best guys ever. To be able to compete against Anderson Silva would be huge and [a chance] to be able to say that I went against the best guy and I beat the best guy. I believe that I can beat him. I believe that the skills and toughness I have would be something that he would have a hard time dealing with.”

However, first comes first in terms of Evans’ issue with shedding the actual weight. He says that he has yet to do a test cut to see if he could actually make the weight without an issue. And there’s also the issue with Evans’ age. Now that he’s older, how will his body respond?

“It’s a big question mark for me,” said Evans. “When I turned 30, my body started to change a little bit. It used to be so easy for me to make 185. Now, I really have to focus and pay attention to what I put into my body in terms of food as well as everything else, like nutrition supplements.

“My weight fluctuates. Eating like I am now and then having a day or two off, I could be back up to 230 lbs. without even trying. I’d really have to get in contact with a dietician, like Mike Dolce.”

Evans bout with Nogueira likely won’t tell us much except for how well both fighters respond to ring rust. But with the clock ticking and the light heavyweight division slowly developing a handful of new contenders, the time may be now for Evans to decide on his future, and whether it lies at middleweight.

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