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Rashad Evans 'one fight away

Rashad Evans
Since appearing on season two of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), UFC light heavyweight star Rashad Evans (9-0) has been perfect.

The former Michigan State University wrestler defied skeptics, including TUF 2 coach Matt Hughes, to rattle of a string of upsets on his way to defeating Brad Imes in the finals and earning a "six-figure" UFC contract.

I'll admit that I was one of those skeptics. That's because Evans seemed to do just enough to win — he never really turned in spectacular performances (his gutsy split-decision victory over Imes is the only exception).

Then at UFC 63, Evans looked tremendous against Jason Lambert (22-6), knocking him out in the second round with a brutal barrage of strikes from the mount.

It was a statement that he is a legitimate contender at 205. And, strong evidence that working with super trainer Greg Jackson in New Mexico – along with guys like Diego Sanchez, Keith Jardine, Nate Marquardt and Joey Villasenor, among others – is turning Evans into a more dangerous fighter.

On January 25, Evans will play the relatively new role of favorite in his match up with underdog and relative unknown Sean Salmon (9-1) at UFC Fight Night 8. Salmon is also an accomplished wrestler from a Big 10 school – Ohio State – who has put together a nice winning streak of his own.

For all the background and information you can handle on Salmon, I encourage you to go check out The guys over there will sponsor Salmon in his upcoming bout and have done a tremendous job of telling his story – unlike the UFC.

Without a doubt, this will be Salmon's biggest test. His opponents' records are a lackluster 43-52-1 combined, indicating that he has yet to fight a guy with talent like Evans.

So, when Evans indicated during a recent interview with that he is one fight away from being considered for a title shot, it got my wheels turning.

Here's a snip:

"I think I'm one fight away. I'm not saying I will get a championship fight after this one, but I think I will be moving on to bigger names."

If that's the case, then the fight with Salmon makes little to no sense. Why not put him up against Forrest Griffin, Renato "Babalu" Sobral, Michael Bisping, or even Tito Ortiz?

It's a scenario in which if Evans loses to Salmon, it's to a newcomer and ruins any chance of a title fight down the road.

And if he wins, he didn't beat a tested contender in the division to earn a shot at the title.

It just seems like a no-win situation for Evans, even if he does beat Salmon.

He's got a lot to lose and not much to gain.

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