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Rashad Evans aims for March return, puts off plans for bout with Alexander Gustafsson

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Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sp

UFC light heavyweight Rashad Evans publicly expressed a desire to fight top contender Alexander Gustafsson, but wanted to test out the integrity of his knee. Evans tore his ACL back in February and said he was eager to get back to competing, but had to make sure his body could follow along.

The results of that experiment are in. As it turns out, Evans says his body isn't ready. The Blackzilian team member claims he can't commit fighting Gustafsson any time soon. Ariel Helwani first reported the news on Wednesday's UFC Tonight on Fox Sports 1.

"My leg isn't strong," Evans reportedly told Helwani. "I can't explode off it like I normally used to be able to and it still feels unstable. My management team wouldn't let me take the fight. Glenn [Robinson, his manager] said, 'At this stage of your career there is no need to rush into a fight especially coming back from a major injury'."

Evans, though, still intends to return the Octagon as soon as possible and is targeting a March 2015 return.