Looks like Rashad Evans hasn't been demoted after all.
UFC President Dana White today confirmed to ESPN's 'MMA Live' that Evans still has first dibs on the 205-pound strap and will fight the winner of Mauricio Rua vs. Jon Jones, if the victor emerges "unscathed" from their UFC 128 title fight on March 19 in New Jersey.
Evans, who was forced to withdraw from his headliner against "Shogun" on the upcoming pay-per-view card after suffering a knee injury in practice, can head back to camp and pick up where he left off if the Brazilian wins on Saturday night.
And if he loses? Well, then things get a bit more complicated.
That's because Evans and Jones share a home at Greg Jackson's MMA in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and in order for them to be opponents, they can no longer be teammates, according to "Suga:"
"If we gotta fight, then we gotta get away from each other. I just have to sit down and decide, 'What's it gonna be?' because there's never gonna be no going back. There's no makin' it better or going back to the team after it's done. If [Jones and I] agree to fight, if we say we're gonna fight, it's over. I would divorce myself from Jacksons."
Evans would likely return to the Grudge Training Center under Trevor Whitman, where he spent two camps prior to returning to Albuquerque for the "Shogun" fight, but it's still too early to know if his departure is imminent.
It's also not unlike White to have a change of heart and a lot still depends on the outcome of Saturday night's main event. But as of now, Evans (15-1-1) looks to get first crack at the light heavyweight title later this year.
Unless you can think of someone more deserving...