Despite having a bitter history with former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight champion Quinton Jackson, Rashad Evans is sad to see "Rampage" go, especially because "Suga" believes his former nemesis never lived up to his full potential inside the Octagon.
Jackson had a messy falling out with UFC management prior to the final fight of his contract, which took place against Glover Teixeira last month at UFC on FOX 6. The Tennessee native made his displeasures with the organization very well known; making it very unlikely he is going to mend his relationship with the UFC brass.
That's disappointing news to the ears of Evans, who shared his thoughts on Jackson at the UFC 156 "Ultimate Media Day" event, saying he is sad to see "Rampage" go and believes he is a fighter who never truly realized how talented he was during his time with the UFC.
"I'm going to miss ‘Rampage' man, I'm going to miss him a lot man. He was a great talent. And the sad part for me with ‘Rampage' is I don't think he ever realized how talented he was, you know? And that's one thing I wish that he would have realized how talented he was. I hope that he rediscovers some things for himself and find out that he is all fighter and that this is - he needs to be fighting on the biggest stage right now, and that's with the UFC, you know, and I hope that him and Dana [White] and the UFC make up and he comes back. I would love to see him compete again he's one of my favorite fighters, he's one of those fighters who inspired me to start training, so for him to come back and to really rediscover the fighter that he is and realize the potential, for me it would be great."
After a heated rivalry as opposing coaches on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season 10, Evans and Jackson squared off in one of the most anticipated light heavyweight fights in UFC history at UFC 114 in May 2010.
Evans came out of the fight as the winner by way of the decision, arguably triggering the beginning of Jackson's downward spin.
Jackson is currently in the midst of a 30-day freeze period following the conclusion of his contract, but once that is complete he will be able to begin negotiating with any possible suitors interested in his services. However, according to UFC President Dana White, the UFC has the right to match any contract offers for up to three months.
Following his defeat to Teixeira at UFC on FOX 6, Jackson admitted he doesn't know if he "can compete with the top people anymore," leaving even further doubt about a return to the UFC.
Will the 34-year-old ever step foot inside the Octagon again? It doesn't look that way. And Evans sees that as a real shame, because he believes Jackson still has what it takes to defeat the best fighters in the world.