LAS VEGAS -- Lady luck was nowhere to be found for Rashad Evans
in this gambling town. Evans came looking for good news, and left with his golden opportunity gone.
After a second medical evaluation confirmed a knee ligament injury, Evans was forced out of his long-awaited March light-heavyweight championship matchup with Mauricio "Shogun" Rua
. He'll be replaced by his teammate Jon Jones
, who rode the momentum of a UFC 126
submission win over Ryan Bader to a sudden title shot.
The win takes Evans from on the cusp of a championship to no man's land.
UFC president Dana White said Evans won't be guaranteed a title shot or kept as the No. 1 contender as he works his way back from injury. Evans will be sidelined for 6-8 weeks and in a brace as he rehabs.
"I don't know what's going to happen with that now," White said. "I feel bad about it, too. Look at the 185-pound division. [Yushin] Okami got hurt and couldn't get that fight [against Anderson Sivla] and now he's been waiting forever."
Perhaps just as bad for his championship dreams, if Jones wins, Evans will really be in the midst of a dilemma. Jones said he hopes the two won't be forced to fight, but if Evans still harbors title hopes, he might have no choice. He's too small to fight at heavyweight, and has never indicated a willingness, interest or ability to move down to middleweight.
White sympathized with Evans' plight, but said that Evans might have made a mistake in waiting all this time for Rua to heal from his own knee surgery when he could have taken a fight in the meantime.
"I like Rashad," White said. "Rashad and I have a good relationship. I think guys get bad advice sometimes. I don't know if it was Rashad [making the decision] or other people telling him to wait, but in my opinion it was bad advice."
Evans last fought at UFC 114 in May 2010, defeating Quinton "Rampage" Jackson by decision.