Rashad Evans Has Redemption on His Mind: 'I'm Not Afraid to Fight Jon Jones'

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Rashad Evans Has Redemption on His Mind: 'I'm Not Afraid to Fight Jon Jones'
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

Over the last few months, former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans has been flirting with the idea of dropping down to 185 pounds.

The discussion started some time ago when he teased about the possibility of facing off against former UFC middleweight king Anderson Silva.

Since that time, Evans has bounced back and forth on the idea of joining the middleweight ranks. While he may not be the biggest light heavyweight in the world, he's still densely built, so dropping the additional 20 pounds would be difficult no matter how well conditioned he may be.

In addition, Evans may now have a bigger reason to stay at light heavyweight.

Just three fights ago, he battled his former friend and teammate Jon Jones for the UFC light heavyweight title. Jones won by unanimous decision, but like a bad dream that he just can't wake up from, Evans isn't ready to put the idea of revenge to bed just yet.

"I'm staying at 205 until there's something big at 185 that makes more sense than 205, but I've been a light heavyweight for the longest time so it's hard just to make that jump down without some good reason. It's like why do that when I don't need to cut? I'm already in a position where I'm pretty high ranked in my weight division, and I'm not worried about fighting (Jon) Jones, I'm not afraid to fight Jones. I think that I can beat Jones," Evans said.  "It's not something like 'oh Jones is at 205 maybe I should move weight classes that way I can get a belt.' Hell no, I want to fight Jones."

The feud between Evans and Jones reached epic proportions leading up to their fight in 2012 at UFC 145. The pair trained together for a few years under the tutelage of coach Greg Jackson, but when Jones captured the belt, Evans had to decide whether to stay with his team or exit for a chance to compete for the title.

Evans left Jackson's MMA and became part of the founding force behind his new team in Florida, The Blackzilians, where he's been ever since.

While the results at his new camp were rough in the beginning, he has turned things around with a win against Dan Henderson in his most recent fight at UFC 161. Now he's ready to start targeting another run at the belt.

"I would love to have a few more rounds with Jon," Evans said. "Jon is a fighter, he's a great fighter, one of the best I've ever seen, one of the best I've ever competed against. I'd like to challenge myself to get a chance to fight him, it would be amazing. I know for sure, for a fact, this time if I fight him, I won't be walking away with a loss."

Evans is realistic enough to know that a win over Henderson after two losses isn't enough to get him back in the orbit of Jones and a title defense.

So the former Michigan State wrestler is anxious to put in the work necessary to earn another title shot and a rematch against Jones.

Evans hasn't signed on for his next fight, but he's not in the business of calling anybody out at this stage in his career. He wants to fight whoever is the next guy in line so he can knock him down and continue on his journey toward Jones.

"I don't know to be honest, I would like to fight Shogun (Rua), I would like to fight (Lyoto) Machida again, for me I just want to have fights people want to see," Evans said. "I want to have good, exciting fights against the best guys in my weight class.

"For me, it's not that I care too much who they are, because I really don't care. The way I see it is I want to be No. 1 and in order to be No. 1 I have to beat everybody anyways. So it doesn't matter how they stack them up, I want to knock them down."

Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report, and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

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