Interview with UFC All-star Rashad Evans Interviewed by Ben Tatar of CriticalBench.com – July 2011
On August 6th, 2011 Rashad Evans will face Tito Ortiz in the UFC's octagon. UFC 133 will be the second time Evans will fight Ortiz.
The last time these two met in the ring was UFC 73 in 2007. Looking significantly smaller than Ortiz, Rashad fought three grueling rounds with the former light heavyweight champion to close the fight with a draw.
Originally Evans was to fight his former training partner Jon "Bones" Jones. Jones bowed out in order to pursue hand surgery.
Evans was then slated to fight Phil Davis. Three weeks out Davis sustained injuries that made him incapable of making the fight date this Saturday. For a brief moment Evans was to fight Lyoto Machida, but due to a contractual disagreement between Machida and the UFC he declined.
Despite this up and down roller coaster, Evans continued to train. Even though he had no idea who he would fight, Evans worked with the mentality of training for a title bout.
Three weeks ago Tito Ortiz took the fight. Ortiz has had a rough time in the octagon over the last decade. Having taken several losses in the latter part of his career many had thought it was coming to an end. His surprise upset against Ryan Bader has many rooting for a revival and a possible shot at the number one spot. That means a definitive win over Rashad Evans is clearly part of his game plan.
Rashad Evans HIGHLIGHTS& Knockouts
Evans however has a remarkable record. In season 2 of The Ultimate Fighter Evans won the finale as a heavy weight, fighting under the tutelage of Rich Franklin. That earned him a contract and started his career. In Season 10 he was brought back to serve as a coach.
In his career as a fighter he has defeated UFC All-stars such as Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, Michael Bisping, Forrest Griffin, Stephen Bonnar, Thiago Silva, and Chuck Liddell.
Currently, Evans has a record of 20-1-1.
In 2008 Rashad was the Sherdog Fighter of the Year and held the Sherdog Knockout of the Year, which he scored against Chuck Liddell.
I recently had an opportunity to speak with Rashad and ask him about his career, training and, of course his upcoming fight against Tito Ortiz.
I wanted to know what drove him as a fighter and pushed him to be one of the UFC's greatest.
He said that being seen as the best was a motivation all it's own. The desire to not let down fans and to prove the haters wrong is tremendously powerful. The hardest part is all the sacrifice involved. At times he feels he has to be selfish. He has to put family and friends on hold for his training. His focus has to remain pure. It's a lot of hard work.
Before a fight he does a lot of mental imagery. He visualizes everything that will happen before the fight. This means he sees before he achieves, and always enters a fight in his most natural, relaxed state. "Ortiz is an emotional fighter. He's constantly moving." I try and stay calm and centered, he said.
Not one to avoid an issue, I asked if he ever took steroids. He replied with a definitive, "No."
When asked why he said, "I don't just see steroids as a physical crutch. They're a psychological crutch as well." He said that basically that if he took steroids he would be telling himself he couldn't compete. "I would rather not compete and save myself the heart ache."
Rashad's training consists of both skill set workouts, striking, takedowns, wrestling and jiu-jitsu, and intense strength and conditioning workouts. He works flexibility and endurance working with bands, dumb bells and plyometrics.
Having defeated many of the biggest names in the UFC, I wanted to know who his toughest opponent was. He said simply, himself.
RASHAD VS TITO ORTIZ (UFC 133 MAIN EVENT.)
There is no doubt that he is old school in his approach. It is all blood, sweat, and tears. He doesn't try to entertain. He just fights. If you are entertained that is a consequence, not a goal. Rashad's goal is to fight and win.
When asked how he wants to be remembered, he said "As one of the greatest fighters ever in the UFC," but most importantly he said, "I am honored to have gained the respect and admiration of so many fans." He went on to talk about his desire to have a positive impact and to be a good role model, especially for the kids who look up to him.
Rashad hopes to influence kids with the examples that he sets.
Rashad sets a bold contrast against "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy." Known for his brash and in your face attitude, Ortiz plays the bad boy well. Ortiz began his career as a stellar fighter and was the longest light heavy weight title holder in UFC history.
Given his upset over Ran Bader, Ortiz may well be into a revival of his career. Nonetheless he stands in the odd position of an up and coming former champion and clearly will come into this fight with something to prove.
It's going to be a very exciting Main Event. We at Critical Bench congratulate Rashad Evans for not only making it to the top of the UFC, but for the remarkable wins he's made to get there. I am grateful to Mr. Evans for sharing his time with me and wish him the best this weekend.