Pre-fight workouts set stage for UFC on FOX

By Nader Ihmoud

Rashad Evans and Phil Davis both had outside distractions brought to their attention at the Jan. 25 UFC on FOX Open Workouts at the Chicago Boxing Club, 3508 S. Halsted St., as the two prepared for their Jan. 28 UFC on FOX fight at the United Center, 1501 W. Madison St.

Evans and Davis, along with other UFC fighters, met with reporters post-work-out to discuss the upcoming fights.

Davis commented on Former Pennsylvania State University Head Coach Joe Paterno, who died Jan. 22 from lung cancer. The Penn State Board of Trustees fired Paterno Nov. 9, 2011, at the peak of the child sex abuse scandal surrounding former Defensive Coordinator

Jerry Sandusky.

Davis, a Penn State alumnus, worked for a contractor during his summers at the school and delivered corn to Paterno’s home. Although Davis did not spend a great deal of time with Paterno, he said “Coach Pa” left a good impression.

“[Paterno was] awesome for a great one liner. He had a zippy one liner every day,” Davis said. “From that, I took that he was a really nice guy.”

Davis, who wrestled during his time at the university, said he believes everyone is in mourning for the legendary coach.

Evans, on the other hand, was faced with a completely different issue. Were Evans to defeat Davis, he would be in line to fight Jon Jones for the light heavyweight title, but said he was not overlooking the Jan. 28 fight.

A loss for Evans would not mean a title shot for Davis. According to Davis, being left out of the light heavyweight title discussion does not affect him.

“I don’t care what goes on if it doesn’t involve me,” he said.

Davis has only been in nine fights but did not feel his inexperience would affect him. He was less experienced than each of his previous nine opponents and won every fight.

Evans has 17 UFC fights and one loss against Lyoto Machida.

“[Davis] has no killer instinct for this, and he’s got no experience at this level,” Evans said.

Davis and Evans were involved in several exchanges of trash talk leading up the fight.

“I like to talk trash. It’s not only about the sport; people want to be entertained,” Evans said.

Both fighters have wrestling backgrounds and believe they are more skilled at grappling.

“I admire the wrestling comparisons because [Evans] doesn’t really have one to speak of, really,” Davis said.

Evans was a Junior College national champion at Niagara Community College in New York and a three-year starter at Michigan State University.

“Shoot, I can wrestle too,” he said. “I could wrestle as good as he can.”

Evans has been training for the fight in Florida but lives in Chicago with his children. He said having a home in the city does not translate to enough time with his kids. His biggest challenge is not being able to be a full time father.

“I use it as motivation,” Evans said. “It keeps me hungry.”

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