Rashad Evans will now have to wait even longer to get his long-awaited shot at reclaiming the UFC light heavyweight title, but says he “fully understands” the UFC’s decision to have champion Jon Jones face Lyoto Machida instead at UFC 140 in December while he recovers from a hand injury:
“After my last fight against Tito Ortiz, I dislocated my right thumb, which required it to be set back in place and held with pins. 24 hours ago, my physician removed the pins. At that time, I learned that it would require another three weeks of rehabilitation before engaging in any exercise or training that would require the use of my hand.
Dana White and I spoke earlier today, and I fully understand his decision to put Machida against Jones for the title at UFC 140. Given the rehabilitation time I require for my dislocated thumb, I would not be 100 percent ready by December 10. The UFC has to keep making fights that entertain the fans. I would have done the same thing as Dana in his position. I’m asking for the fans to support me as I rehabilitate my hand, and I promise I will be back fighting very quickly.”
Meanwhile, the war of words between Jones and Evans continues with no end in sight until at least 2012 as Jones told MMAFighting he feels his former teammate Evans is the one ducking their matchup:
Well, Dana White basically needed someone to save 140. I didn’t necessarily want to fight at 140, but because it was Rashad, I said, ‘You know what? I would take the fight in nine weeks.’ I’m already in shape. I already know what I want to do. Rashad, predicting that I would say no, he kind of kicked himself in the butt because I said yes, he turns around and says, ‘Oh, I didn’t expect Jon to say yes. I don’t want to fight him that soon.’ So in reality, he’s kind of the one who’s ducking the fight. I feel like he’s ducking the fight.
Did the UFC make the right call having Jones fight again as soon as possible even though it’s not against the top-contender, or should they have waited to have Jones fight Evans just a few weeks later?