Rashad Evans and Phil Davis Crank Up the Trash-Talk Before UFC on FOX 2
It took a little over a half-hour for Rashad Evans and Phil Davis to stop being polite and start being real on Friday's UFC on FOX 2 media call. But once it happened, there was no going back.
The catalyst, innocently enough, was a straightforward question for Davis about the odds of him being the very next challenger for UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones if he gets past Evans in Chicago. Not surprisingly, Davis likes his chances.
"After I beat Rashad on the 28th, they won't really have anything else to do with me other than to have me fight [Jones]," Davis said. "Rashad is the true number one contender, and after he loses, who else do I fight? The champion."
A few awkward silences later, Evans decided to cut out the middle man and address his foe directly.
"You ain't beating me, dog," said the former 205-pound champ. "And you know what? It can't get here fast enough, because I'm going to smash you, dude."
And away we went.
"It's about time," quipped UFC middleweight Michael Bisping, who was also on the call, but keeping things relatively tame with his new opponent, Chael Sonnen. "I was falling asleep here."
The hard part about arguing on a media conference call is that you never know for sure when the other guy is finished, and when it's your turn to retort. This results in a lot of talking over one another, with clever threats and unsubtle predictions lost in the static of two men trying to drown one another out. Imagine those political roundtable shows if no one could see each other.
But for a few brief moments on Friday, Evans and Davis actually managed to have something resembling a conversation. It went a little something like this:
Evans: "He ain't ready. He know he ain't ready. I look in his eyes and see he ain't ready. Just a boy."
Davis: "It's a shame. I was kind of thinking, you really shouldn't be too concerned about that title shot. That's just one of those things. It's not going to be for a little while. You've got a little while until you've got to worry about a title shot."
Evans: "We're going to see what happens when those lights hit you, when you walk out and that crowd is roaring. We're going to see. We're going to see what kind of man you are. We're going to see what kind of fighter you are, because I know you ain't no fighter."
Here the trash-talk beams were once again crossed, and neither could hear over the sound of his own voice. But when pressed on his claim that Davis was not a fighter, despite the 9-0 record as a professional that would seem to argue otherwise, things calmed down enough for Evans to explain.
"Look, there's some people that would fight if they weren't getting paid to fight, and I'm one of those people. Phil is not one of those people."
If he was expecting Davis to protest this characterization, he was quickly disappointed. The former NCAA champion wrestler told Evans he was "absolutely right," saying that if he wasn't doing this for a living, "I'd be pushing a pen."
"But since I get paid to fight, looks like you next," he added.
More loud noises, more talking over one another, more missed sound bytes.
According to Evans, however, there is a difference between the people who will fight only for money and the people for whom the money is just a bonus. "There's a difference in mindset," he said over and over again. Was Davis convinced by this argument? He was not.
"Right now, you can say what you want to over the phone, but when we get in that cage and you can't get out, we're going to see how you feel then," Evans added.
Which is, of course, what pre-fight trash-talk battles always boil down to. One guy predicts victory for himself and crushing defeat for the other guy, while his opponent offers his reasons for disagreeing. Sooner or later, it always comes back to, 'We'll find out on fight night.'
And we will. That's the great part about this sport. But as long as we're waiting, you can't blame these two for wanting to give us all -- not to mention one another -- something to think about. According to Davis, these pre-fight exchanges will not be forgotten when the cage door closes.
"I'm going to remind you with every shot," he told Evans. "When I'm on top of you, I'm going to remind you with every shot what you said."
As if Evans is in any danger of forgetting this conversation by next Saturday night. As if any of us are.