[ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED JUNE 3, 2018, 4:02 PM]
If there is a central question from Anthony Smith’s interview with Karyn Bryant Saturday, that question would be posed directly at Smith’s opponent at UFC 225, Rashad Evans: What happened to you, man?
Anthony Smith doesn’t ponder this because he believes Rashad Evans is not the same fighter on the outside; but rather he is questioning what happened to the fight inside of Evans:
“When Rashad was fighting Rampage, I remember thinking, ‘Someday, I want to be one of those guys. I want to be mentioned with those people.’” Smith began. “And Rashad’s fought Jon Jones, Forrest Griffin, Thiago Silva, I mean the list goes on. And then to see how everyone talks about him and just runs him into the ground…this isn’t the Suga that I know. He’s not even sticking up for himself. So now I find myself in interviews having to stick up for him. Like, why the fuck am I doing that? Where’s the Rashad that got into epic trash-talking battles with Rampage? And where’s the Rashad that got in Jon Jones’s shit and stuck up for himself?”
We have heard trash talk in just about every form by now. We’ve heard the insults, the predictions, the overconfidence…but this may be a first. Smith seems to be trash talking Evans for defending him. This would be like someone sticking up for a classmate after others were name-calling the student, but then calls the student a wimp because he couldn’t stand up for himself. Smith insists that he is not trash talking Evans, but is speaking from the heart on why this version of Rashad Evans is truly sad for him to behold.
“Just some of the stuff that he said…like, ‘My bags are at the door,’ and, ‘I see the writing on the wall’…that’s not the way this was supposed to go in my head. If you told me five years ago that someday I’d be fighting Rashad, this isn’t the build-up that I expected it to be.
“I want the old Rashad. I don’t want the mentally broken one.”
Smith wants more out of Evans. He even expects more out of Evans. His gripe is that Evans doesn’t seem to expect more out of himself:
“I don’t want him to focus on not losing. I want him to try to take me out. That’s the fight I want. That’s the one I’ve been preparing for. And I just hope that that’s the one I get. I’m just disappointed. This isn’t the Rashad that I grew up watching.”
We’ll see if Smith gets his wish Saturday at UFC 225…and if he should have let sleeping dogs lie.
Who do you think gets the victory Saturday? Anthony Smith or “Suga” Rashad Evans?