Evans vs. Jackson: Could Thiago Silva Cancel the Fight?
The biggest non-title fight of 2010 may not happen.
With Quinton ?Rampage? Jackson opting to return to the UFC during the middle of 2010,* Rashad Evans would be the obvious opponent.
UFC President Dana White is not so sure.
?I think he?ll have to beat Thiago (Silva) to get that fight with Rampage,? White said at the UFC 108 press conference.
Now, this could all be posturing on White?s part to keep the spotlight on the severely star-crossed UFC 108 event. The event has already lost most of its appeal when a boatload of top stars pulled out of the event for various reasons.
Some of the fighters no longer on the show include Anderson Silva, Vitor Belfort, Brock Lesnar, Shane Carwin, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, and Cain Velasquez.
Nevertheless, even entertaining the possibility of bringing back Jackson to fight anyone other than Evans would be a huge disappointment to the record-setting number of fans that watched the most recent season Ultimate Fighter.
During the show, Evans and Jackson traded quips, barbs, and insults throughout. Such heated arguments between two coaches have not been since Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock on Season Three.*
Evans is not letting White?s threat of pulling the Jackson fight affect his preparation for the upcoming fight with Silva.
?As far as Dana saying that, it doesn?t change anything,? Evan said. ?I don?t have extra motivation if he hadn?t said those words.?
Lost in all the talk of a possible Evans and Jackson fight is the person Evans is about to face, Thiago Silva.
Like Evans, Silva only has one loss on his record. Also like Evans, that loss was to current light heavyweight champion, Lyota Machida.
?No, for me this is a big fight,? Silva said when asked if he is concerned by the Evans vs. Jackson conversation. ?This is a great opportunity for me. It doesn?t really bother me. I?m here to fight the best. Rashad is one of the best.?
In the past, the UFC has shown a willingness to put on a desired fight regardless of recent outcomes. A recent and similar example would be that of Matt Hughes vs. Matt Serra.
Hughes and Serra were opposing coaches on the Ultimate Fighter Season Six show that concluded in December 2007. The fight (which Hughes won) took place about 18 months later in May of 2009.
During those 18 months, Hughes and Serra both were defeated. Hughes lost to Georges St. Pierre and Thiago Alves while Serra lost to St. Pierre.
None of those results seemed to damper fans' interest in the fight. Hughes and Serra garnered a significant amount of interest leading up to their eventual fight.
Would the UFC waste four months of highly rated programming and not have the Evans vs. Silva fight?
The odds are far against that, and based on prior decisions, an Evans vs. Jackson fight is not only likely?the fight is inevitable.