Rashad Evans attributes his dislike for Quinton “Rampage” Jackson to an unfortunate meeting in 2004, and as Evans makes the final preparations for Saturday’s UFC 114 main-event with his fellow former champion, he is looking forward to ending the trash talk and starting the fight.
“At one time I was a big Quinton fan and I used to like him a lot, but that time is over,” says Evans in an interview with UFC.com. “We’ve been talking trash a lot, it’s been building up and now I’m just looking forward to getting it on.”
Evans notes that their first less-than-stellar meeting occurred following a fight in 2004 (before Evans was in UFC): “I was watching him fight and I was a big fan. I was like ‘damn, this dude is large.’ But when I got to meet him, he always tried to treat me like I was a problem. I didn’t get a good vibe from him,” says Evans.
In recent years, trash talk between the two has escalated, and Evans believes some of the exchanged words hurt Rampage’s feelings.
“For somebody that talks a lot of trash, you’d think [Rampage] would have a little thicker skin, but sometimes I’d say something to him and I could tell that I really hurt his feelings,” says Evans. “He talks a lot of trash but he’s not used to somebody saying something back to him. I am kinda surprised at how easy it was to mess with him a little bit and play with him.”
Aware that his UFC prowess suffered when he entirely abandoned wrestling, “Sugar” emphasizes the importance of a well-rounded gameplan that combines striking and grappling. It is a lack of that combination, he argues, that makes Rampage vulnerable in the fight Saturday night.
Evans explains, “Quinton’s strong and sometimes he’ll will himself to stay in a fight when he’s really out of it. But as far as well-roundedness, I think he was a better fighter before he got to the UFC. I don’t want say his best days are behind him, but when he was in PRIDE, he was way more well-rounded. He did takedowns, did a little ground and pound, and he mixed up his game. Now that he’s in the UFC, he’s relying so much on his power and trying to end the fight with one shot, and that’s all he really goes for. But I’m going in there thinking that I’ve got the best Quinton that’s ever been.”