Evans: Johnson will fight for the title in 2012

Rashad Evans talks Anthony "Rumble" Johnson, his teammate, before the weigh-in fiasco.

Las Vegas, Nevada –Leading UFC light heavyweight contender Rashad Evans has warned the middleweight division that his teammate Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson will make ‘an immediate impact’ on the 185lbs weight class this weekend. Johnson collides with MMA icon Vitor Belfort in the co-main event of UFC RIO in Brazil tomorrow night, and his ‘Blackzilian’ teammate Evans is expecting Johnson to fight through a hostile atmosphere to score a hugely significant win.

Currently finishing his camp for his UFC on FOX main event against Phil Davis in Chicago on January 28, Evans said: “Rumble is better than you’ve ever seen him before. I promise you that on Saturday night you’ll see the best version of Rumble you have ever seen. You are supposed to root for your teammates, but, I am keeping it real, the 185lbs version of Rumble is a killer.

“Where he is right now, he’s so scary. You can’t imagine how much of a difference moving up to middleweight has made to not only his strength but also his technique. As a welterweight, maybe 60% of his camp was about making 170lbs, leaving only 40% for boxing, striking, wrestling, BJJ, judo and everything else. Much less than half of his time was actually spent on improving his skills and transitions.

“Now he’s spending maybe 80% and more on technique and real fitness training, not just training to lose pounds. He’s a scary, scary athlete right now.  In practice with him some times, I was “Damn! What the hell is happening here? I’m not used to getting my ass kicked like this!” but he was just so ‘on’ he was beating my ass all over the gym on certain days.

“I like Vitor a lot, and everyone respects him as a fighter, but Rumble will send a message to the entire division this Saturday in Rio. Honestly, being up a weight is the best thing he ever did. There’s no doubt in my mind he will be challenging everyone in the division. It’s ridiculous, the difference it has made.

“Keeping it real, Rumble can beat anyone in the entire division. He will be fighting for the UFC middleweight title in 2012. I almost feel bad for ruining the surprise of how badass he is as middleweight, but you’ll see to see the fight tomorrow to appreciate what I mean.

“I’m looking forward to a great day of sport tomorrow. I’m ahead of schedule for my fight with Phil Davis at UFC on FOX on January 28, so I gonna watch some football then after that UFC 142 to see my boy Rumble make a huge, scary statement in Brazil.”

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