After months of prefight banter and delays, Rashad Evans and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson will finally fight May 29 in the main event of UFC 114.
The former light heavyweight champions coached opposite of each other on “The Ultimate Fighter 10.” They traded plenty of barbs throughout the season, from taunts about previous knockout losses to questions about heart and courage. However, after the show, their expected Dec. 12, 2009, meeting at UFC 107 was postponed when Jackson accepted a part in the movie “The A-Team.”
The role prompted a public feud between Jackson and UFC President Dana White, with “Rampage” threatening to never fight in the Octagon again. Meanwhile, Evans took a bout against Thiago Silva at UFC 108 on Jan. 2, winning a unanimous decision.
The trash-talk between Evans and Jackson then resumed. The next step was for Jackson to patch things up with the UFC, and now the bout is finally nearing.
“Now all the trash-talking, all the buildup is finally going to come to a head,” Evans said during a recent appearance on Bruce Buffer’s “It’s Time!” show on the Sherdog Radio Network. “It’s exciting. I’m excited for it, to see exactly how it goes down. Excited to see how I perform.”
Evans acknowledged that he has been enjoying his war of words with Jackson.
“The fight game can start to feel like a job,” he said. “Every once in a while, you get blessed with a treat and actually have a fight that’s fun. And it’s fun the whole way. You get a little trash-talking in. You get a little rivalry going. Some extra little motivation to make it a little bit fun, make it about competing and having fun again. Because sometimes it’s easy to make it like a job and, as you know, when you make something a job, it can become tiresome, monotonous and boring.”
As of last week, Evans and Jackson were still going at it on Twitter. Jackson posted this message among others for his foe: “You can't take me down, your cardio is crap, you hit like a kid, and you got a glass jaw.” He even broke out a “Yo Mama” joke, calling Evans’ mother fat. Evans reminded Jackson of how many times Jackson has been knocked out.
Fun as the back-and-forth may be, Evans knows one consequence of barking is having to back it up.
“All the words that we said back and forth to each other, we get to see who actually can back up what they say,” he said. “It’s kind of exciting. At the same time, it can be a bit nerve-wracking. You don’t want to find yourself on the other end of an unfortunate punch … and look stupid. But that’s the price you pay when you open your mouth.”
As for whether Evans genuinely dislikes Jackson, yes. He isn’t just hyping the fight.
“There’s qualities that I don’t like about him, but I can’t overall say I hate him all together,” Evans said. “The qualities that I don’t like about him overpower the qualities that I do like about him. I’ll just say it like that. For the most part, I don’t like him too much.”