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Rashad Evans: Thiago Silva Likely Next After Rampage Jackson Backed Out

Left without an opponent for his next fight when Rampage Jackson walked away from the UFC, Rashad Evans said Wednesday that he expects to fight Thiago Silva next, likely some time in December or early next year.

In an interview with FanHouse, Evans -- the former UFC light heavyweight champion -- said that while nothing is official, he thinks the Silva fight is the best option for himself and the UFC after Rampage decided he'd rather act than fight.

"Thiago Silva is a good fighter, I'd like to fight him and I think he wants to fight me," Evans said. "When I saw him after he fought Keith Jardine, he kind of gave me a nasty look that I interpreted like he wanted to take me on, and I'd like that."

The UFC's light heavyweight division is stacked, and there are a number of potential opponents for Evans, who mentioned Vitor Belfort, Anderson Silva and Tito Ortiz as fights he'd like to have. But Evans said his focus is on Thiago Silva.

"I think I match up really well with Thiago Silva," Evans said. "He's a great striker, and I love his focus. He's going to be a challenge, and that's the kind of fight I want."

Still, Evans said that he doesn't think the relationship between the UFC and Jackson is irreparable. He just thinks UFC President Dana White needs to sit down with Jackson and talk face to face.

"It's going to take Dana speaking with Rampage," Evans said. "There was a communication breakdown between them. The UFC stuck by Rampage when they didn't have to, and Rampage has also done a lot for the UFC, and they need to clear the air and get back on the same page. Dana and Rampage are friends and they should talk."

Although Evans said he developed a personal rivalry with Jackson during their time coaching against each other on The Ultimate Fighter, he said he didn't begrudge Jackson the decision to act.

"Rampage is funny, he's charismatic, he's got timing like a comedian," Evans said. "He's good on camera. If you've got those talents, and you've got an opportunity, you've got to capitalize on that."

Evans acknowledged that he was offered a fight with Randy Couture, but he said he didn't think that fight made sense.

"That was a match-up that I didn't think was good for me," Evans said. "He's 46 years old and coming off back-to-back losses as a heavyweight, and I feel like beating him wouldn't move me up the rankings as a light heavyweight. Plus I would have had to take that fight on short notice, in England, and it felt like I'm being punished because Rampage took a movie."

But whatever he does next, Evans said his ultimate focus is re-claiming the UFC light heavyweight title.

"What I loved about the Rampage fight was if I won it I would get the next title shot," Evans said. "I want to go get my belt." .fanhouseButton {margin:2em 0;} .fanhouseButton a:link, .fanhouseButton a:visited, .fanhouseButton a:hover, .fanhouseButton a:active {background-color:#dd2829;color:#FFFFFF;font-size:18px;padding:0.3em 0.6em;text-decoration:none;} .fanhouseButton a:hover {background-color:#000000;}

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