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The Rashad Evans Bandwagon is filling up fast

I must say I am amazed at the passion that Rashad Evans fans have exhibited in recent days. I can’t help but wonder where this passion was last week when I wrote that Evans was not only going to lose at UFC 88 against Chuck Liddell, he was going to lose early?

When I wrote Sunday that I only knew two people who predicted Evans to win, I meant two people that I knew personally. Outside of people I had conversed with directly, there definitely was a small show of support for Evans in the comment thread that proceeded my article.

Operative word: small.

It seems that overnight Evans has grown an enormous, rabid fanbase. You would have thought more of these so-called Evans fans would have responded to my strongly-worded column last week instead of waiting until the day after?

There’s a simple explanation: the support Evans is receiving is a prime example of bandwagon jumping 101. Wagon jumping happens in every sport so why should MMA be any different? It’s no different than a Boston Red Sox fan living Ohio that has no ties to the New England area. When they use the term “Red Sox Nation,” I guess they aren’t exaggerating.

And it’s no different than some of the Benedict Arnold Philadelphians I grew up with in Philly that claim to be Dallas Cowboys fans. I mean, how far is Pennsylvania from Texas? Oh, so you had an aunt and uncle that lived in Texas? So did I but I still supported the Eagles win or lose. Sorry, but I guess I have a little more spine than to shop for my favorite teams that just happen to be winning championships.

In MMA, we have a similar situation as it seems like everyone is jumping on the Evans bandwagon at the same time. Hindsight is 20/20 and many of the people coming out of the woodwork and singing Evans’ praises are people who a week ago at this time felt he had as little of a chance to win as I did. Ah, the beauty of anonymity and the luxury of being able to wait until after the fact.

This isn’t to suggest that Evans didn’t have his supporters before the fight. Those that stood by their man from the get go have every right to wag their finger and say “I told you so.” Those are the people I have respect for. And you know who you are. True Evans fans are the ones who won’t feel a need to respond defensively to the paragraphs written above. You saw something in Evans that I did not. And to the true Evans fans out there, this is for you:

You were right and I was wrong.

But there are some points I want to clarify because I get the impression that a lot of people didn’t read my Sunday article about Evans in its entirety. It’s almost as if they were keyboard happy and decided to write a response before even reading the entire article. Because if they had read the entire article, they would have seen that I did give Evans some credit. Granted, I don’t consider him to be as good of a fighter as some people out there, there are some positive things I have to say about him in light of the Liddell fight.

Such as:

1) Rashad Evans is definitely a top ten light heavyweight. When I update my rankings, he’ll be in it.

2) Rashad Evans deserves the right to fight Forrest Griffin for the UFC light heavyweight title on Dec. 27 more than anyone else in the UFC. Yes, Lyoto Machida has done well for himself but Evans is also undefeated in the UFC and his most recent defeat was against Liddell while Machida’s came against Tito Ortiz. Ortiz is a quality victory but Liddell was considered the next guy in line for a title shot and Evans beat that guy. I’m not saying Machida isn’t deserving of a title shot, only that I consider Evans more deserving.

3) Rashad Evans didn’t win with a lucky punch. In watching the fight over, it’s clear he knew what was coming. It wouldn’t surprise me if Greg Jackson and Evans watched tons of video together and identified the punches in which Liddell exposes his chin. It’s obvious to me at this point that the game plan was to evade Liddell and wait for an opening and then counter. As soon as Evans saw that opening, he knew exactly what to do. Well played.

But there are some other things to clarify as well. Such as that I have no bias or anything personal against Evans. What kind of grudge could I possibly have against this guy? I’ve never met the man. I don’t know much about him outside of what can be found on video or on the web.

I also never said Evans was a bad fighter. I think a lot of people are over-reacting simply because I do not yet believe he’s a great fighter. If you think he’s great, good for you. But just because we share a different opinion doesn’t mean I don’t like the man or have anything against him. I just call it like I see it and a lot of times I don’t see it the same way as the masses. So sue me?

My issues with Evans are as a fighter and are strictly professional, not personal. Well, maybe just a little personal. Personally, I haven’t found too many of his fights to be exciting. It’s personal preference I guess. I’ve always preferred fighters like Liddell, Wanderlei Silva, Anderson Silva, Kimbo Slice, Houston Alexander, Arturo Gatti, and Kelly Pavlik — fighters that aren’t afraid to mix it up and take chances and attack their opponents. What can I say? I like brawlers.

What I see from Evans at times is reminiscent of Lyoto Machida in that he spends a great deal of his time in the Octagon trying to elude his opponent. While I think Machida can be a boring fighter at times, I can respect his methods because of his Karate background. Counter fighting is inherent to many traditional martial arts styles so Machida is only doing what comes naturally. But for a wrestler like Evans, it seems like he’s had to go out of his way in his formative years as a fighter to adopt a counter style.

I can’t fault him for the strategy he uses at times because this is a sport and the name of the game is winning. MMA is not performance art or professional wrestling. And since becoming a professional fighter, he’s never tasted defeat. For that, I hold a tremendous amount of respect for Evans. But that doesn’t mean I have to say I find him to be an exciting fighter when it fact I do not. If you enjoy his fights, more power to you. I just would like to see a little more action and I’d like to see how he handles himself in an extended back-and-forth exchange with a top caliber opponent. He’s beaten top caliber guys, but he’s never really gotten into a war with them.

So I think Evans is most certainly a good fighter. What will it take for me to consider him great? I’d like to see how he does vs. the likes of Griffin, Wanderlei Silva, Mauricio Rua, Quinton Jackson, and Machida. Those are five light heavyweights in the UFC that I all have ranked ahead of Evans. I want to see if he sinks or swims once he enters the deep waters of the shark tank. A knockout win over Liddell was a fantastic start but he still has a ways to go before I’m going to view him as great.

Evans has the potential to win the title and assert himself as the top gun in the UFC’s light heavyweight division. He also has the potential to be nothing more than a guy who upset Liddell and wasn’t able to get past Griffin and was stuck on the cusp of true greatness. And if he fails to live up to all the hype being set forth for him right now then there is going to be an overwhelming amount of insurance claims from those who broke their ankles while jumping off the Evans bandwagon.

76 COMMENTS
  • MMAStation says:

    I thought there was no way in hell Evans would win that fight. Guess we were both wrong.

    However I do also disagree with your opinions on being a bandwagon fan when it comes to NFL teams/ other sports teams. Since when do you have to be from a city to be a fan of their teams? I am a born and raised San Diegan but I am a loyal 49er fan ( I still support the Chargers too) and have been since I was 6 or 7 ( Yes they won the superbowl the first time I saw them play).

    You have to remember teams play with a different personality, sometimes your hometown team doesnt quite match what you like and you search it out somewhere else.

  • P says:

    Great read. I agree with you Sam on Evans. A top 10 guy, but not great yet. I too am not excited with his fighting style, though I was excited and suprised by his knockout of Chuck. Looking back, Chucks one dimentional style played into exacully what Evans camp wanted to do, I think he would have a much tougher time against more well rounded fighters such as Forest. Hell, I know it was like 9 months ago, but Evans barely won against Bisping and did not look good at all. I came away from that fight more impressed with Bisbing. But hey, what the hell do I know.

  • finkrod says:

    The guys a talented fighter, and I wouldn’t dream of diminishing his accomplishments, but I’m still not interested in watching him fight. And I have zero enthusiasm to see him and Griffin go at either. Nothing against either of them, but that’s just how I feel.

  • Guy Gaduois says:

    Sam, Sam, Sam – the masses are simply now being enfolded by the mystique of Evans. There’s always been a deep, deep appreciation of him athletically, but there’s something about his asthetic that has so much more appeal – and that’s a big, huge win over the most recognizable name in the sport.

    Bandwagon is such an ugly word. It’s a true word, but like ‘cancer’, is very ugly.

    Love the Machida comparison, made the same one myself, but Evans actually threw strikes with meaning against Liddell. And as I joked before ( a bit ), Machida without meaningful striking is just as qualified to be on Dance Fever with Deney Terrio as he is the Octagon.

    Evans has been built up with some very good matchups and this victory over Liddell is big. Prior to the Liddell fight, I would have said Evans fights exclusively “not to lose”. “Real” MMA fans deride this, but I came to watch an MMA fight, not a techniques demonstration.

    I would hate to see a matchup between Evans and Machida. I’d read your summary of it, let you suffer through the actual proceedings, but I’d avoid that fight like the plague. Interesting that these fighters with dynamic records don’t enthrall the masses. Or at least this mass.

  • seth b says:

    Thanks Sam. I believe that this is the first completely positive article about Rashad Evans. You obviously have calmed down some since Saturday night.
    ps- sorry I called you out so hard on your “Evans is going down early” thread. That being said, I TOLD YOU SO! (just had to get that out of my system.)

  • Bucco says:

    I’ll admit that I think Chuck is a more exciting fighter but you can’t deny Rashad being the better strategist. In a drunken state just hours before the fight I said that I think Rashad will eek out a boring decision of staying out of harms way while throwing leg kicks to keep Chuck at bay and quick 1 and done counter punching. As far as needing a back and forth battle to test his true mettle you can’t ask for a better fight than Forrest Griffen.

  • marc in bc says:

    I agree completely with both your articles. A lot of the people calling you out on this are the same doheads who baglicked Jardine after he beat Chuck, only to throw him under the bus after Wandy destroyed him. When Rashad loses, which he will sometime, these fairweather fans will bandwagon jump the next gy who scores a major upset.

  • Justin B says:

    I was part of that “small” group. Told you on the response to that post that Chuck could only back peddle and try to counter only so much. He had to move forward. Then BOOM the lights went out. I’ve been a huge Rashad fan since TUF 2 and if you say different I’ll slap you in the teeth. comment #10 on your post

  • Justin B says:

    I was part of that “small” group. Told you on the response to that post that Chuck could only back peddle and try to counter only so much. He had to move forward. Then BOOM the lights went out. I’ve been a huge Rashad fan since TUF 2 and if you say different I’ll slap you in the teeth. comment #10 on your post

  • dave says:

    The quality of editorials on this site have gotten continually more poor. Fans don’t need columnists scolding them for jumping ship from fighter to fighter. They need columnists who are smart enough and up enough of MMA to not just unabashedly jump behind the favored fighter and to point out the holes in his game. Liddell has been showing wear and holes in his game for a year or two. To completly miss those and declare Rashad toast was absurd. Any B level fighter with a decent chin who watched Quinton Jackson and Jardine dismantle Chuck would be able to do the same granted Chuck did not change up his training and strategy. And every columnist downplayed that.
    This column was just as useful as the column asking why Rashad was squeezing his nipples. That was a question asked and answered a month or two ago during the GSP Fitch fight.
    Can you guys start using critical thinking before the fight? Before you write a column? I am not Rashad fan but this sites response to his win has been absurd. You guys got it wrong because you were not really paying attention. All you saw was what the UFC wanted you to see:a former champ ready for another shot at a title. Rashad will certainly lose in the next year or two its your job as a columnist to make readers realize both fighters are human and you failed to do that. You made Liddell indestructible again and that is why people are jumping on Rashads jock so hard.

  • Mike C. says:

    I was a Rashad fan before the fight but still completely doubted him and said he was stupid for his plan of exchanging on the feet. Shows what I know. Very impressive ko.

    And fuck bandwagon fans. How many of you jumped off the Kampmann wagon on Saturday?

  • AA says:

    Sam why do you always have to come off as such a whiney little bitch. you write great opinion pieses. you don’t have to worry so much about what people think about them.

  • lesnar is crap says:

    I’m not jumping on the bandwagon. Rashad has never looked impressive to me and still doesn’t . So he knocked out chuck everyone has a punchers chance. I’m not saying hes not a good fighter i personally am not impressed with him.

  • pitbull17 says:

    very well said, there are a lot of people all of the sudden who are rashads biggest fam

  • For the record I am with Sam 100%
    I wanted Chuck to win but I had this strange feeling of an upset.
    I still CANT STAND RASHAD… but I will give him a bit of respect for a nice win.
    Evans is in NO WAY deserving of a title shot.

    I see the UFC top 5 205lbs something like this:
    Forrest = Champ (in the eyes of the judges)
    #1 Anderson Silva
    #2 Rampage
    #3 Henderson
    #4 Rich Franklin
    #5 Wand Silva
    * Machida
    * R. Evans

  • MMAStation says:

    Mike C.

    I got ragged so hard after the Kampman fight by my buddies. I was sure he could pull it off and told them I thought he would win.

  • rich says:

    I think everyone needs to realize that every fighter in MMA is dangerous and has the ability to win any fight. Who if anyone predicted that Serra would win let alone knockout St. Pierre. Nobody could have predited the outcome of that fight. Bottom line is anyone who steps in the cage has a 50% chance of winning. That is what makes the sport exciting and that is why it will be the biggest sport in 10 yrs.

  • MMAStation says:

    Tony how can you rank Silva as the #2 LHW after only beating James Irvin?

  • Barry says:

    props to Evans for the win, but I still don’t like him.

  • Dr.Stoppage says:

    What really stood out for me was how Evans reacted after the fight.
    Other than doing the Fred Sanford (COOL!),he was totally humble.
    He had every reason to be a total post fight celebration asshole,but chose not to.
    THAT plus the K.O. is the reason why I like him.

  • Ertz says:

    How can one say they don’t like Evans’ style, when Chuck is known to be a counter puncher as well? He fought exactly as Chuck does, and won in style. You can’t have it both ways.

  • Ryan says:

    Sam, what radio station do host for? i’m from philly and would love to hear more from you.

  • Sam Caplan says:

    AA, to steal a line from “Bubba the Love Sponge,” learn how to work, kid. For real, some of you guys need to either lighten up or start your own website and run things the way you think they should be run.

    I’m an opinion-based columnist and the worst thing an op-ed writer could ever do is to keep their opinions to themselves. It’s just as bad as a sports talk show host who cops out and says “We”ll just have to agree to disagree” as opposed to fueling the debate.

    This site was founded on strong opinions. I’m not sure why some people get so wrapped up in what is said here sometimes. We’re not splitting the atom.

    At the same time, if I have an opinion, I am going to run with it whether I think it will be well-received or not. I’m not trying to craft an image and have a high Q rating. I am just expressing my opinion in an unfiltered fashion. It’s what I’ve done since day one on this site.

  • Dr.Stoppage says:

    Besides,that $50 I shell out for each PPV entitles me to jump on and off as many bandwagon’s as I feel like ,because I’m fickle, baby!
    F-I-C-K-L-E !

  • Jackyl says:

    What about the anti-TUF bandwagon? It seems to be rather common with the “hardcore” fans. The ones that think TUF is the second coming of Satan. Maybe it’s just on Sherdog but there are so many people that still refuse to give Forrest or Rashad ANY credit. You should have heard the excuses after the Shogun fight. I know Rashad is not the most exciting fighter but he has underestimated power and he’s probably one of the quickest guys at his weight. I predicted Liddell to win too but I didn’t totally write Rashad off. Also, what better motivation is there than to have everyone saying you are going to lose? That’s why we see a lot of upsets in this sport.

    Now can we find anyone that is predicting Cote to win next month?

  • Sam Caplan says:

    Jackyl, not yet. But should Cote win, I am sure there will be someone on this site who posts a comment lecturing us about how we should have done our jobs better and seen the proper angles.

  • j mac says:

    damn writers on here act real female like sometimes lol chuck lost wow it happens if people wanna act like celtics fans let them or in your case use the little power you have to backlash at comments youve seen on other articles lol bitch ass ness at its finest kudos

  • MMA SKOOL™ says:

    RASHAD EVANS IS NOT THE DALLAS COWBOYS. RASHAD EVANS IS MORE LIKE THE WASHINGTON REDSKINS. DON’T ASK ME WHY, ONLY BECAUSE HE’S NOT THE COWS AND DEFINITELY NOT THE GIANTS. ALTHOUGH HE DOES HAVE A BABY FACE LIKE ELI AND HE TALKS STUPID CRAP LIKE SHOCKEY.

    Machida deserves a title shot more than Evans. Evans isn’t undefeated. A draw isn’t a win. Of course Evans is a good fighter. Excellent wrestling skills, good strikes, strong, quick, etc. I just don’t like looking at him or hearing him talk. (Evans couldn’t beat Tito even when Tito had points taken away from him for grabbing the cage to avoid being taken down and lay on by Evans.)

    Liddell was fun to watch, but it seems like he’s the only “punchy” MMA fighter… Time to retire. Hopefully the CAT scans come up negative, because it wouldn’t surprise me if the docs told him to hang it up like Troy Aikman…

  • Patrick says:

    Lyoto will mess Rashad up when they match up.

  • Big Rapper says:

    UFC fans are all bandwagons punk azzes! You wannabes! Until UFC lets in A REAL FIGHTER like KIMBO SLICE the UFC will suck with a bunch of women rolling around with each other and loser fans you u morons liking it! Holla! Kimbo will knock all dat azzes out! Holla AGAIN!

  • Charlie says:

    The same people that were riding Chuck’s jock for this fight will be riding Anderson’s jock in that fight. I don’t see Cote having a chance because everywhere that he is good, Anderson is even better. I think I’m going to coin the phrase “A Rashad’s Chance in Hell” and say Cote only stands a Rashad’s chance in hell at beating Anderson.

  • j mac says:

    if by messup you mean pot shot him and dance around him or elusive as yall call it lol evans fans are bandwagoners but wtf like machida fans arent lol

  • Ryan says:

    anyone who picks cote to win probably thinks he is fighting someone named Panderson Milva. you would have to have never heard of the best pound for pound fighter in the world to even entertain the notion that cote stands a chance

  • Nick says:

    good read and count me as someone who was wrong too, but i still give him props for the huge win (it looked like he killed him literally).

    in the bar where i watched there was a table of annoying people who were like those you describe…..i heard what i thought was everyone one of them applaud and cheer on chuck until the ko and then it was yeah my boy rashad, blah, blah, blah.

    so from now on my favourite fighter is “the winner”….he never loses.

  • Nick says:

    p.s. i got cote taking this……just in case ;o)

  • sven says:

    Someone can have my seat. I still cant stand the guy. He’s completely obnoxious and still one of the most boring fighters at LHW. One punch an exciting fight does not make.

    Hopefully Forrest picks him apart.

  • Sergio Hernandez says:

    Sam, I won’t lie. This column reeks of sour grapes. Most of it might come from the “oh my God, Sam, you wrote a column that said Evans didn’t have a shot, that means you know NOTHING about MMA” mentality that seems to be coming out of the woodwork. I’ve been watching MMA for over 10 years and my picks suuuuuucked this time around.

    Saying that, you hit the nail on the head in your response to AA. It’s an OPINION piece. Unless I’m writing the column myself, there is a GOOD chance I might not agree with an op-ed piece on this site.

    Granted, I’m more likely to agree since the reason I come to this site is because I think it’s one of the best MMA sites out there. And that is because of the staff behind the scenes.

    Guys, keep up the good work. Obviously, the silver lining of the nightmares you had with your hosting company a few weeks back is that you’re growing at an incredible rate. You must be doing SOMETHING right, no?

  • KTru says:

    MMASKOOL….. u know how much of an idiot you make yourself look after your comment?

    undefeated means you never lost!!!!!

    And Sam….that was a pretty awesome using one of Bubbanyms.

    Fuck this place its bullshit im outta here

  • Chad says:

    First of all, I have always been a fan of Rashad Evans. He used to work as a security guard with one of my buddies from HS in Lansing, MI. I met him once or twice and thought he was a cool kid. I didn’t respond to your post about him going down early b/c what good would that have done of me of wasting my time trying to go off on you for voicing your opinion? I will say it myself, I really wanted Rashad to win this fight big time, but I just didn’t think he had it in him to do it. I did like his game plan tho, and it seems everyone hates on a lot of ppl for winning. How many ppl came out last year and were dogging the Patriots for going undefeated in the regular season in the NFL?? TONS! some ppl just can’t stand winners when their fave player/team is losing. Also, comparing Rashad to Machida is an absolute joke!!! Machida is a karate guy and just stands there and tries to kick the body. He was running away from Ortiz the entire damn fight. All of his victories have been by decision except for one by submission. He’s a pansy! (my opinion don’t forget)

    Also, Silva @ #2 LHW? he beat james irvin and thats it. Henderson at #3? haha Franklin at @4?? he fought at LHW for the first time in like 5-6 years and stops Hamill with a kick to the liver and now he’s #4 thats a joke. if rashad loses to the iceman, he gets a title shot, meaning he’s #2..rashad beats him and he’s not even in the top 5???? also, wanderlei silva wins for the first time against keith jardine after losing 3 straight fights, and he’s automatically top 5 material…? dude, you need to do some research.

    Griffin vs. Rashad. I feel this is going to be a great match-up. They both have heart and aren’t afraid to fight someone at their own game. I’m def. looking forward to this one. I have a feeling it will go to decision b/c neither one of these 2 will quit. So, I’m picking Rashad to win by split decision. YOU HAVE IT HERE FOLKS!!!

  • Mathematic says:

    Sam, you’re being EXTREMELY unfair to all the new Rashad fans. Before this fight I knew very little about Evans. The last time he fought was nearly a year ago. Here’s a fact. Fights make fans. I wasn’t anti-Evans before this fight. I’m pro-Evans now. I like him. From the Gates mugshot shirt to the brilliantly executed gameplan to the beating Chuck to the punch highlight reel knockout.

  • DamonO says:

    Rashad doesn’t havea huge fanbase because we really was not marketable before. He came in to the UFC as a boring fighter *cough Brad Imes cough*. Look at the majority of his fights in the Octagon, Decisions Decisions. Don’t get me wrong, decisioned fights can be really good; not so much for Evans. I liked him KOing Salmon and Lambert but whoopidy doo! His first ever really impressive KO was against Chuck. Let’s see what he can do with another methodical fighter (like himself) in Forrest.

  • Crack Finger says:

    So the point of this post was to sweep your “bold” prediction of Shad not only losing, but not having a chance in the world to beat Chuck, under a rug, and downplay it by saying “Well none of you predicted it either!” You see Sam, not many picked Shad to beat Liddell, but at the same time everyone didn’t completely discredit him like you did by publically going on record and devoting an entire post to him and how he doesnt have a chance in the world to beat Chucky.

    Correct me if I am wrong but this is the first time a post of this nature has appeared on this site. So the backlash has been created not because you are not allowed to have an opinion, but because this type of post is against whats normally found on fiveouncesofpain.com. Which is fine, its always refreshing to see something new. What I think is worse than this is the fact that you chose the smallest limb possible to climb out on, no one was picking Rashad to win like you said. So by being bold and making a “Rashad Evans cannot win” has me waiting for the, the “Patrick Cote cannot beat Anderson Silva!” post.

    PS: WAR ADAM MORGAN AND MIKE HUCKABY!

  • Hey Sam, the problem I had with the criticism of Evans before the fight was that it seemed more based on perception than reality. I’m not sure why people only remember the lay n’ pray of a young fighter learning the ropes and forget that Evans put Big Brad Imes, a mountain of man, on his butt twice! Anyone who said that Evans didn’t have power clearly hasn’t been paying attention. In several fights with different outcomes, I think Evans has proven to be very adaptable fighter, which is probably the most important trait of a MMA fighter and people need to stop labeling fighters and basing their opinions less on perception/labels and more on reality/accomplishments.

  • Jesse says:

    by BIG RAPPER
    “UFC fans are all bandwagons punk azzes! You wannabes! Until UFC lets in A REAL FIGHTER like KIMBO SLICE the UFC will suck with a bunch of women rolling around with each other and loser fans you u morons liking it! Holla! Kimbo will knock all dat azzes out! Holla AGAIN!”

    This wins most unintelligent comment of the week. So well put.

  • king mah mah says:

    Fuck Rashad! I think all the showboating got chuck mad and threw him off his game a little bit. Everyone can get knocked out. It shouldn’t be that suprising, but I still like chuck better than Rashad anyday of the week.

  • nate says:

    Ha. The Best smack down ever.

  • Mirjitsu says:

    I credit this win directly to Greg Jackson and Keith Jardine. Greg Jackson is an amazing trainer with phenomenal success against Liddel. Whoever said Kimbo Slice was a good fighter is an idiot. I do believe he almost got his ass kicked by a semi decent fighter his last bout. He’d get the beating of his life in the UFC. Rashad was not very well known by most and now everyone is jumping on the bandwagon… just like the huge surge in Patriots fans that seem to be EVERYwhere…simply b/c they go undefeated and then CHOKE!!

  • chris says:

    I was pulling for Rashad but didn’t think he’d win. The way I saw it was that he would try to take Chuck down and fail over and over again. Even if he got Chuck down, keeping him down would be just as hard. I saw it has a hard fought decision that sould go Rashad’s way but it would be given to Chuck based on his popularity and what the UFC wanted for the Griffin fight sales. Seeing Rashad stay up on the feet and trade with Chuck was shocking. What was most shocking was that Rashad made Chuck come to him to exchange. In this case, I would of said that Chuck’s going to make Rashad come to him and then catch him. But it was the other way around. I was shocked as I was excited for Rashad. He just exposed Chuck entire game. Rashad also showed that he can figure is opponent out and make adjustments to win and win big. Good job Rashad! It looks like we might get another new champ as Forrest is not that hard to figure out either. Keith Jardine beat both Chuck and Forrest. I can it happening for Rashad as well.

  • stan says:

    I find it funny that all the people that picked Chuck have to keep saying…Everyone thought Chuck would win by a landslide. As to make themselves feel better they were wrong. My two cents. I picked Evans. He is under rated but has a bit to improve to get a belt and keep it. As MMA goes it just takes that one punch at the wrong place and time and its all over. Chuck got caught which I figured he would as he came into the ring thinking the same thing everyone was saying…this is my fight and I’m going to win. He was too proud. If everyone remembers one of the last times that happened was when Rampage knocked him out. I see Evans and Forrest and interesting matchup. I still pick Evans over Forest. Rampage over Vanderleigh. Rampage over Evans on the next fight assuming he isn’t in jail for two years….

  • Austin says:

    Wanderlei would easily destroy Rashad, in my opinion. Although, the next 2-4 people who get in the ring with him will be extra cautious of getting KTFO.

  • Mike Wolfe says:

    It’s interesting that the two “up and coming” fighters in the UFC at 205 are Machida and Rashad, both of whom are elusive rather than attack-oriented brawlers. Maybe they’re the new generation of MMA fighters or the next style of fighting. I wonder what White and UFC think about it. It’s clear that White likes brawlers because they put on a good show that’s appealing to many of the fans.

  • Jeremy says:

    It is amazing to hear so many folks suddenly proclaiming Evans the next LHW champ and future of the division.

    I was impressed with his KO of Liddell, but still remember his bouts with Ortiz and Bisping.

  • stan says:

    yeah but I also remembered Forests fights against Tito and moreso Keith Jardine. Given enough time and depending on the matchup different things happen. Forest came in and gave Rampage a good fight. (controversial yes…but good fight).

    Machida is definitely the future of MMA. He is awesome. Evans style is weird but works well for him so far. I don’t see it work against Rampage, or Machida. Any one of those guys would be an interesting fight.

    I’d definitely love to see a Machida vs Evans fight sometime soon!

    I love Light Heavyweight division…

  • warcry says:

    Wanderlei is just as wide and looping with his strikes as Chuck. He would get blown up just like the Iceman. That is what Dan Henderson did to him also.

  • Brad Mclean says:

    Sounds like sour grapes for another wrong prediction. But really, how can you make any accurate one with the wealth of talent and parity nowadays, there are upsets almost every event from every organiztion. I’m rarely surprised anymore, and thus avoid posting my opinion everytime I disagree with an article

  • nate says:

    nice article, I enjoyed reading. I also agree with everything you said, so it was easy to enjoy.
    PS: I am officially on the “I never want to see nipple twisting ever again.” bandwagon.
    PSS: I love the greatest sport in the world: MMA.

  • zach says:

    I understand your rationale Sam. Everyone likes to see a brawl and some fighters are mentally pre-disposed to brawling. However, these Rashad does have potential and he finds a way to win.

    I believe what was lacking in his game was the mental edge and confidence. I am sure the win over Liddell will do wonders for his confidence and at 28 he still has so much to learn and incorporate into his fighting style. One thing you can’t deny is that Rashad certainly has phenomenal KO power and that has the making of exactly the type of fighter you like.

    If he can flow from stand up to take downs and improve his BJJ and actually GNP people when he is on top I see him giving problems to all the fighters you mention.

    However, I agree that we should see what happens and let Rashad earn his accolades…

  • Rich S. says:

    for the people who think so strongly that Rashad isn’t deserving of a title shot.. think of it this way..

    if Chuck would’ve won, he would’ve been on his way to title..
    so Rashad beat Chuck, and he’s “in NO WAY deserving of a shot”?
    that doesn’t make too much sense..
    let’s say Chuck did win, he’d be having a title fight, with a record of 2-2 for his last 2 fights.. that sounds kind of ridiculous..
    Rashad on the other hand, has never lost.. anywhere.. to anyone..

    and as far as I’m concerned, If Chuck Li-freakin’-ddell is on your resume’ of wins.. you’re definitely close to a title shot..

  • Rich S. says:

    “2-2 for his last 2 fights”

    4 fights..

    sure wouldn’t mind an edit feature right about now :)

  • matt says:

    Sam, I grew up in Jersey as a Cowboys/Red Sox Fan. I’m originally from Texas and my dad was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan, when they moved he kept his Yankees hate and switched to BoSox. So I resent this entire article!

    You could make a case for Rampage as the #1 contender after the close decision but you don’t want to risk a champ going to prison. Bad business there. Machida/Forrest, the marketing would focus strictly on Forrest selling this fight. Wand beat Jardine…that doesn’t scream #1 contender (plus he and forrest train together). Hendo is staying at MW. Soko has 1 win. Shogon is 0-1. Jardine just got murdered by Wand. Chuck was KD. Thiago hasn’t had a solid career making win, and people forget that Irvin blew out his knee mid fight, so that’s a freebie right there. So in reality, Rashad is the best choice.

    He’s got the skill to win and I guess now the Knock Out power. And has headlined two PPVs (one was a completely weak card and still had 400k buys) with him an Bisping. I wouldn’t be surprised if Rashad/Forrest does atleast 500k in PPV buys (what else is gonna sell that? MIR/NOG? REALLY?) So the bandwagon is legit.

  • Grappo says:

    Thought it could’ve gone either way, but I favored Evans because Liddell hasn’t been very consistent as of late, plus I often go for the underdog when it’s between 2 fighters that I don’t really care for. I was rooting for Rashad up until he entered the cage and tweaked his nipples. Then I wanted Chuck to knock his head off. That said, when Rashad KO’ed Chuck, he knocked off all the B.S. showboating and showed himself to be respectful and restrained (which is not what Chuck would have done) so he redeemed himself a bit.

    Machida pwns.

  • JollyDV says:

    The bandwagon may have grown so fast because we humans are a lot like moths. When they see bright lights they fly directly for it. Deservedly Rashad is a bright light now, hence the fans are quickly heading toward the bright light. I have always like Rashad and I am sure he had a solid fan base prior to his fight with Chuck. They were there before the light was turned on with mega wattage and those are the fans that will stay long after the bulb has burned out.

  • Damo says:

    I still can’t stand the guy.

  • THORAZINE says:

    Ya’ know when I saw Rashad win TUF and knew he was dropping to 205 lbs I said to a lot of my friends, that guy will be a champion one day, I was really impressed with his ability and willingness to mix standup and wrestling at opportune times. Then he fought Tito I thought he looked too small to be a 205 lbr and was wondering where that size and strength went? Rashad then barely beat Bisping. I admit I changed my tune, with all the hype about Chuck and Chuck has easily dismantled Ortiz and whupped Wanderlei, I thought Rashad chances were slim.

    However! (lol) when I saw Rashad at weigh-ins and in the ring, he looked like he maintained his size much better than he has in the past, I thought he might be able to pull a win out. However! (lol) after round 1 I thought Rashad was just too tenative to win the fight. Now I realize it was part of a very well thoughtout game plan executed to the ‘T’. WOW… I always felt Rashad knew how to win, but I didn’t feel confident he could pull it off with the likes of Chuck Liddell.

    I’ve always been on the Rashad bandwagon but I certainly didn’t feel confident that he could beat Chuck based on past performances. The guy keeps improving and I’m back with thinking he could be a Champion one day. I think Forrest is one of the worst kinds of fighter for Rashad to face though, because Forrest is really busy without risking much and will out point a tentative Rashad.

  • ViciousUppercut says:

    Wow some of these armchair fighters are acting like they knocked Liddell out. And boy are they full of themselves with their so called predictions, and saying things like “i’ve always loved Rashad ever since i first saw him on TUF” and “You were wrong Sam, you were wrong, and i was right, I was right. I told you Rashad was gonna win. I told you”. Yeah right. Man all Sam did was pick Liddell to win. Sam gave his opinion, and he was wrong, big deal. It happens. You can’t be right all of the time. And now, you have some dumbass saying that you dehumanized Rashad. Dehumanized? Wow man, get a life. Keep up the good work Sam, at least some of us are smart enough to realize your opinion is just that, an opinion, on an excellent website i might add

  • ihateemo says:

    Sam,

    I don’t see an issue with people suddenly supporting Evans, let alone tarring them as “bandwagon jumpers”. Is it really unreasonable for people to feel comfortable vocally supporting Evans – a fighter I also believe(d?) to have a slightly boring style and to have been fortunate with his roster of opponents – after watching his spectacular knockout of one of the UFC’s most elite fighters?

    I don’t really count myself an Evans fan still, since something about the guy still bugs me. But at the same time isn’t going out there and KOing opponents how fighters build a legitimate fanbase?

    I guess the real tell-tale sign is how the fans feel about Evans if and when he loses in the future. Until then I feel your tone was a little insulting to the fans that Evans has converted.

  • Bocholo says:

    I don’t think ANYONE that likes Evans now after the Liddell fight is a bandwagon fan. Evans is now showing us how exciting of a fighter he can be. He was on the Ultimate Fighter as a Heavyweight which is the most boring division that they could possibly put on the show. I am not saying it’s a boring division in the UFC or Affliction, but on the show it’s painful to watch. Since the show he has fought no name guys besides Tito Ortiz and lets face it Tito is not the fighter he was before. Finally Rashad faces someone that people have a liking for and knocks him out cold. OF COURSE people are going to start liking the man!!!!!! That is how we became a fan of Rampage and Anderson Silva when they first came to the UFC. Are you going to tell me we as fans have to come from the same town (your reference to RedSox Nation) or grow up with the person to not be considered a bang wagon fan. When a person catches our eye and proves that they are a fighter worth watching for the fun and excitement that MMA offers how is that a bangwagon fan. So why don’t you do all of us a favor and supply us with the guidelines that we need to fall under to be a fan of a fighter and not be considered a bandwagon fan. Because for me a bangwagon fan is a person that stops supporting and/or liking a fighter after a tough loss. That is a fan that is as you say a Bang Wagon fan because they decide to jump off when the going gets tough. Dont’ get mad at the world becuase we are now FANS of the guy that knocked what seems to be your HERO out.

  • Rob says:

    Yeah your cool because you liked Rashad Evans first. lol. Man, talk about gloating.. ok ok, you were right and everyone else was wrong! cracks me up. I bet you liked Nirvana before everyone else too. who cares if people like him now? He’s a good fighter. I picked him to win, but didn’t comment, because I don’t see a reason to comment on articles. But had to here, because you sound like an idiot. You better pick another underdog so you can gloat about it in a future article. :p

  • screwface says:

    sam i dont respond to your “stir the pot” posts anymore, theyve become too common, and i know they are a useful tool to drum up more site hits, but when u argue that evans is good 30-40 times on same site with same haters hating back eventually u get tired of beating a dead horse, actions speak louder than words, and rashads actions have as usual put a foot in the mouth of all the so called experts. yours truly, rashads most loyal fan since day 1 😉

  • Bocholo says:

    Sam……..seriously………….you are an idiot and you should get a written warning by your boss for this ridiculous article. Take a look at about two entries up where i asked you to explain what a band wagon fan is. Again i ask you, do i have to grew up wiht the fighter and be his best friend? or perhaps maybe at least from the same town?? Rashad fought aweful fighters (i include tito ortiz in that group as well) so who is going to give a shit about the guy. He showed potential by knocking out a overweight fat wrestler with a leg kick and beating on Ortiz for 15 minutes. No one will like a fighter until he gives the fans a reason to like him and Rashad finally did. also i have been a fan of BJ Penn and GSP for years now but according to your dumb ass i bet i am a bang wagon fan with them too right!!! I am telling you your ass should get a written warning for coming up with this retarted article. I have written better bullshit in my 10page papers for college in under an hour.

  • Vee says:

    7 Reason Why Rashad Evans is a Top LHW
    http://scritchandscratch.com/blog/?p=653

    Not.

  • Mike Wolfe says:

    Impress your “bandwagon” friends and acquaintances with the following quote from Tacitus: “Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan.” Who says an MMA fan can’t be well read and urbane?

  • Rich S. says:

    Bocholo,
    what the hell IS a written warning??
    and who’s this “boss” you’re talking about??
    sounds like you’re the dumbass to me..

  • Bocholo says:

    Rich S. let me explain what what a “Written Warning” is for you because you seem to be a little slower then the average person. A “Written Warning” is when a person is working for a company (lets say a corporate company in this case) and they do something that is considered wrong and is looked down upon in a negative way. That person receives a “Written Warning” the first time and if the issue is not corrected he is fired the next time it happens. Do you follow me so far…………good. In this case the article was so STUPID that the writer who posted it (SAM) should get a “Written Warning” from his “Boss”. Now let me explain that again as if i am speaking to a 5 year old because what i just wrote may have confused you AGAIN because i used big words like “Written Warning” and “Boss”.

    Sam’s “Boss” (the person Sam reports to at work) should be mad about how dumb the article was and tell Sam to put more thought behind his work and less bullshit.

    I really hope that clears things up for you because if it doesn’t then i think it would be best if you just did us all a favor and stepped in front of a moving bus.

  • Rich S. says:

    Bocholo,
    I can tell you’re new to this site..
    these guys aren’t posted up downtown writing these articles out of cubicles in a giant office building..

    the mental picture you’ve drawn for how this site is run is a little… off..

  • king mah mah says:

    Sam, you were absolutely right for calling these people bandwagon fans. If you didn’t like Rashad a week ago, then there is no way one punch should change your mind. Let’s see if he can KO about 5 more people in a row and compete for another decade. Then you might be able to put him in the same league as Liddell. Until then keep your bandwagon mouths shut! Great article Sam, keep it up.

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