Updated: January 16, 2012 12:54PM
On Saturday, Jan. 28—two short weeks’ time—I’ll get picked up for the 30-minute ride to the United Center where I will headline the UFC on FOX event in a huge match against Phil Davis.
There are 11 big bouts on the card – and some of the biggest names in mixed martial arts like Chael Sonnen and Michael Bisping are appearing in big fights – and the UFC told me there are only a couple of hundred tickets left. By fight night there will be over 14,000 fans packed into the arena and, as a Chicago guy, I know I’m going to have a lot of support come fight night.
If I win the fight, I should get a shot at the UFC light heavyweight title I held once before, but I’m not even thinking about that. For me, this fight in Chicago is the biggest fight of my career. To main event a massive show like this on national television is a huge honor and easily the biggest opportunity of my life.
More than nine million Americans watched the first UFC on FOX fight last November, with tens of millions more watching around the world. I’m so excited to be given the chance to perform on such a gigantic stage. It’s a little crazy, but at the same time because it is happening in Chicago, it’s weirdly familiar too.
I’ve lived in Chicago for over four years, and I’m going to be proud to represent the city when I step inside the Octagon.
I moved to Chicago in 2008 so I could be closer to my family more often. I love it here; and my kids go to school here. Chicago people are very welcoming; this is a big city but it doesn’t have that “Big City” vibe like they have in some places where people walk past you and no-one speaks to you. There’s always plenty to do in Chicago, but the people are real.
And, architecture-wise, this is the most beautiful city in the world. And, I am lucky enough to have travelled to some great world cities like London and Sydney with the UFC, but I honestly think no city looks as good as Chicago does, especially in the summer.
I train in Florida with the Blackzilian gym, I’m very happy living here in Chicago. I’m going to go out on Jan. 28 and make a lot of people from Chicago very happy by putting on one hell of a show.
(UFC on FOX, headlined by Rashad Evans vs Phil Davis, takes place Jan. 28. Follow Rashad on Twitter @SugaRashadEvans)