UFC 167

Evans vs. Sonnen: 3 Fights for Rashad Evans to Take Next

Artem MoshkovichFeatured ColumnistNovember 17, 2013

Evans vs. Sonnen: 3 Fights for Rashad Evans to Take Next

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    Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sp

    At a career crossroads prior to his bout against Chael Sonnen at UFC 167, Rashad Evans knew that he was in dire need of a return-to-form performance. 

    He needed the kind of win that would make fellow light heavyweight fighters grow concerned. 

    Well, in the process of overwhelming Sonnen in both the clinch and grappling game—arguably two of his most prominent strong suits—that's exactly what he did.

    The issue, though? The top 10 of his weight division are too distracted to care.

    Glover Teixeira is awaiting his title shot, Alexander Gustafsson is already taken, and the rest have their own corresponding issues.

    So let's not mince words: There are few ideal matchups that would catapult Evans closer to the title.

    Instead, let's check out three viable options that would prove interesting nonetheless.

Rafael Cavalcante

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    Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

    Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante (12-4) has the kind of stopping power that might test Rashad Evans' ability to take a punch.

    Most recently, he ran through Igor Pokrajac like a runaway freight train—a series of blistering knees followed by thumping punches left his opponent heaped over on the canvas.

    Evans has the kind of wrestling-based grappling that could push Feijao to his limits.

    They're both coming off of dominant victories, so there's no reason to think that a fight between the two would be anything short of explosive.

Thiago Silva

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    Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

    "But they've already fought," you're probably thinking.

    Sure, sure they have—but much has changed in the interim.

    In recent history—assuming that his decisions don't get overturned for problematic reasons—Thiago Silva has managed to string together a pair of wins; the most noteworthy victory is, coincidentally, against Rafael Cavalcante.

    If nothing else, Evans having a second go against Silva offers him a fight to segue the gap between the current traffic jam in the light heavyweight top 10 and a brighter future where more prominent opponents might be available for him.

Daniel Cormier

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    Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Spor

    With AKA stablemate Cain Velasquez reigning dominant over the UFC heavyweight division, Daniel Cormier's drop to light heavyweight is all but guaranteed at this point. 

    Cormier's unrivaled wrestling, paired with his ever-expanding striking arsenal, might signify a dark shadow coming over the 205-pound division. 

    Most men might be overwhelmed—except for Rashad Evans, that is.

    He's got the wrestling to nullify Cormier's primary weapon. Arguably as important, he has a lethal right hand that Cormier would need to be mindful of for the duration of the bout.

    It's compelling, it's exciting, and it's certainly a legitimate way for No. 4-ranked Evans to welcome Cormier to a new weight division.

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