Finding a 'Silva' lining

JOSE RODRIGUEZ, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:14 AM ET

"Suga" Rashad Evans says he'd be a fool to dwell on the fight that could have been.

The Ultimate Fighter 10 coach -- who was to fight fellow coach Quinton "Rampage" Jackson until Jackson decided to postpone the scrap to film The A-Team movie -- says he spends very little time thinking about his TUF 10 adversary.

"It has been tiresome answering the same question about wanting to know if I'm going to fight Rampage. Is it going to happen, how much do I dislike him, all that stuff." says the former light-heavyweight champ, who is coming off his first career loss to Lyoto Machida at UFC 98 in May.

"I've made it a point to not get distracted on what I want to do. Because you know Thiago Silva is a very hungry fighter."

Silva will meet Evans in the UFC 108 main event next weekend. Evans isn't looking at the Brazilian knockout artist as an interim paycheque until he fights Jackson.

"In due time, the fight with Rampage will happen," says Evans.

"But you know my focus is just on Thiago so much. You know, I don't want to overlook him not even a little bit. So a lot of people are wondering about Rampage, Rampage, but you know Rampage don't mean nothing if I can't beat Thiago."

Silva is coming off a first-round TKO victory over Evans' teammate, Keith "Dean of Mean" Jardine and none of his last four fights have gone past the first stanza.

Evans says he doesn't feel any additional motivation to avenge his teammate's loss, though the two have discussed strategy.

The dangerous 27-year-old -- who has a 14-1 record -- also suffered his first professional blemish at the fists of Machida.

Each fighter says the loss helped him refocus and address some of the weaknesses in his approach.

For the 6-foot-1 Silva, that change is more mental than physical.

"I have to learn to be less emotional," says Silva.

More brains, less heart will be his approach when he enters the cage with Evans.

UFC 108 has come under fire for what many call a lacklustre main card.

Jackson's withdrawal and injuries have forced the UFC to shuffle fights.

The televised portion of the event will include Paul Daley taking on Dustin Hazelett; Joe Lauzon against Sam Stout of London, Ont.; Duane Ludwig against Jim Miller and heavyweight slugger Junior Dos Santos vs. Gilbert Yvel.

Evans, who is 13-1-1, says he doesn't feel any pressure to put on a show and silence the critics.

"I'm just going to show up and fight, man," he says.

"You know I feel like whenever I show up and fight and go in there and do that, the fans are never really disappointed. I don't think the fans will be disappointed at all."

JOSE.RODRIGUEZ@SUNMEDIA.CA

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