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Dana White Says Rashad Evans Likely to Face Winner of Rua-Jones

It appears as though Rashad Evans will get a second chance to fight for the UFC light-heavyweight championship after all. Weeks after a knee injury forced his withdrawal from a title bout with Mauricio "Shogun Rua -- paving the way for teammate Jon Jones to compete for the belt -- Evans is likely to be offered the next chance to fight for the title, UFC president Dana White said on Thursday's night's edition of ESPN's MMA Live.

White stopped short of guaranteeing the title shot, saying that the man who emerged as champion would have to come out unscathed for him to be quickly matched up with Evans.

"If the guys are ready to roll again with no injuries, Rashad is definitely next in line," White said.

The statement reiterated one that White made earlier in the week to MMA Fighting. In an interview with Ariel Helwani, White confirmed Evans was still the No. 1 contender, saying, "If I was Rashad, I would say, 'Whoever wins this fight, I want to fight [him].'"



White's words will only serve to continue the speculation of a rift between Evans and Jones, teammates at Team Greg Jackson in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After originally saying they would never face each other, the two have appeared to thaw on that stance in recent weeks. Last night, Evans confirmed he was "open to it" regarding the possibility.

Of course, it would all be a moot point if champion Rua retains the belt in Saturday's UFC 128 main event. Evans might also miss out on a title shot if the champ leaves with an injury, as he's been on the shelf since last May and may not want to wait any longer to return to action.

Ironically, on last night's MMA Live, Evans -- a part-time analyst for the show -- happened to be in studio, while Jones joined them via satellite, giving Evans an opportunity to ask Jones how he has been handling the situation.

"Nowadays, with all the media, I realize everyone likes to twist the words that come out of my mouth," Jones said. "Same with you, people want to twist the words that come out of your mouth and try to get us to want to kill each other. I try not to focus on a fight with you too much and just focus on the task at hand. Shogun's a big, big opponent and looking past him would be extremely ignorant on my part. There's a quote that I've heard recently and I love it. It says 'looking past an opponent is equivalent to staring at second base when a fastball's coming at you.' My eye's on that fastball, that fastball being Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, and when the time comes to worry about the next opponent, that's exactly what I'll do."

After his open workout yesterday, Jones' press reps asked media to refrain from questions about future opponents, focusing on Rua. That's the same advice Evans gave on the air.

"I felt like Jon just needs to focus on his fight at hand," he said. "Me and Jon talked beforehand, and we talked about this whole situation. I think Jon just needs to focus on Shogun, and whatever happens between me and him is going to happen."