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Rashad Evans: If Daniel Cormier doesn’t win rematch with Jon Jones, ‘he would have to retire’

If UFC 197 didn’t have big enough stakes in pitting the consensus pound-for-pound best Jon Jones against current light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, one of them could be headed off into the gloaming when it’s all said and done.

At least, that’s how former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans sees it. Evans, who faces Glover Teixeira a week before UFC 197, says that if the 36-year old Cormier loses his rematch against Jones on April 23 — thus going to 0-2 in the rivalry — that it might be time for "DC" to walk away from fighting.

"I think that DC definitely can [win]," he told Ariel Helwani during an interview on The MMA Hour. "He definitely can. You know, DC, he seems different this time around. He seems different this time mentally speaking. Honestly speaking, this is a fight that DC…he has to win. Like, if DC doesn’t win this fight, there really — he would have to retire if he doesn’t win this fight."

Evans faced Jones at UFC 145 back in April 2012, dropping a unanimous decision. He was supposed to face Cormier at UFC 170, but had to pull out of the event just 10 days beforehand with a leg injury, thus giving way to Patrick Cummins.

Still, though Evans thinks Cormier can beat Jones the second time around, he believes that a second loss against "Bones" would signal the end.

"It’s like, what does he do then?" Evans said. "Does he try to face Jon again for the third time? Once you take away a man’s desire to be the best -- or he knows that he can’t be the best -- then in a sense, you just kill that man off. So if he loses this fight, Jon would have killed him off. There’s no reason. The competitive grind would be gone."

When it was brought up that perhaps Cormier would simply make a return to heavyweight, where he went 13-0 before switching weight classes to avoid a confrontation with his AKA training partner (and then heavyweight champ) Cain Velasquez, Cormier said anything’s possible.

"Maybe, maybe," he said. "Maybe so. I just don’t think that DC, being so successful with the FOX gig and stuff like that, I don’t think the desire to put his body through it will outweigh the life that he could have if he didn’t do it."

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