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Rashad Evans: Lyoto Machida Is Better, More Deserving Than Rampage Jackson

UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans was originally slated to defend his title against Quinton "Rampage" Jackson at UFC 98, but when Jackson said he wouldn't be ready, Lyoto Machida stepped in to challenge Evans.

Some fans were disappointed that the Evans vs. Jackson match-up was replaced by Evans vs. Machida. But the champion says that he thinks Machida is a more worthy challenger than Jackson.

"I thought Lyoto was more deserving than Rampage anyway," Evans told me Wednesday. "He's better."

Evans said that despite his trash talking session with Jackson in the Octagon after Jackson beat Evans' friend, Keith Jardine, at UFC 96, he feels no personal animosity toward Jackson. But he just doesn't consider Jackson, the former light heavyweight champion, to be as good an opponent as the undefeated Machida.

Evans added that he disagrees with those who think Machida has a boring style, saying that he thinks it's interesting to watch Machida fight -- and interesting to prepare himself for the challenge of stepping into the Octagon with Machida.

My full interview with Evans, which also touched on his training methods, his thoughts on The Ultimate Fighter and his goals for the future, will appear later at FanHouse.