As soon as Vitor Belfort had his hand raised in victory on Saturday night, crushing the middleweight title hopes of Michael Bisping, speculation began as to who would be the next opponent for UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
One name that seemed to pop up quite often was that of former UFC light heavyweight kingpin, Rashad Evans.
There’s only one problem with that theory: Evans is currently booked to face Antonio Rogerio Nogueira on February 2 in the co-main event of UFC 156 and that fight will be contested at the light heavyweight limit of 205 pounds—a far cry from the 185 that Evans would need to make to compete against Silva.
Evans made it perfectly clear that he wasn’t looking beyond the fight with Nogueira, saying, “First things first and the only thing on my mind is getting past Nogueira. He’s a tough competitor and that’s been taking my focus more than anything.”
Depending on the outcome of the February 2 bout, Evans may entertain the drop to 185.
If he wins, he may find himself on the short list for another shot at the 205-pound crown. If he loses, he could think about dropping to 185 due to the fact that his standing at light heavyweight would fall in defeat.
The fact that he is already a top contender at 205 is one of the reasons he decided against a drop to 185 in the past. “One reason I decided not to drop to 185 was because why would I fight at 185 just to be in the same spot I’m in at 205? It didn’t make any sense to me,” he said.
“If it was for a title shot or against a top contender or against someone that people would really want to see, then it would be something I would think about, but then again at the same time, I’m already at the top of the division.”
Could Evans beat Silva?
If the stars do align, Evans does drop to 185 and is booked for a fight against Silva, he would consider it an honor. “It would be a tremendous honor to hold the belt in two different divisions, but also a chance to compete against Anderson Silva. He’s one of my favorite fighters to watch. I get excited every time I get a chance to watch him fight.”
Honor or not, Evans feels he would walk away as only the third UFC fighter to hold a title in two different weight divisions, joining Randy Couture and B.J. Penn.
“When my career’s all said and done, I want to be able to go back and say that I competed against some of the best guys in history," he said. "For me to get a chance to compete against Anderson Silva, it would be an amazing experience and something I could take with me forever and to be able to say I went against the best guy and beat the best guy.
"I believe I could beat Anderson Silva. I believe that the skills I have are something he would have a hard team dealing with, but to compete against him would be an honor in itself.”
Evans spent a good amount of time talking about a potential drop to 185 during Monday’s UFC 156 media call and he can surely expect more questions to come—win or lose—following his bout on February 2 against Nogueira.
All quotes obtained firsthand by B/R MMA