Rashad isn't proven at the top level? He is one of the best fighters in the UFC not holding a belt. Maybe the best fighter not holding a belt.
How many top guys did he fight? Let's go all the back to his debut after TUF. Hogar was a journeyman, same with Bonnar and Jason Lambert. Salmon was a can, Ortiz wasn't even a gatekeeper by then. Bisping was barely in the top 10 back then. Chuck was on the way down and had just lost to Keith Jardine of all people. Griffin was the first quality win and Evans was losing that one until the knockdown in the 3rd round.
Next he got tooled by Machida who was the first elite fighter in the list. Then he beat Thiago Silva who's a gatekeeper at best. Then Rampage when he was already on the way down, but still a top 5 at the time so I'll give him that. Ortiz was a journeyman at best, Phil Davis was borderline top 10, then he ran into Jones and got his ass whooped again.
So when we go all the way back, Rashad has gone up against 2 elite fighters, losing badly to both, and beat a top 5 guy on the way down. 3 top 5 guys, possibly 4 if you count Forrest, who, by the way was knocked out cold by Keith Jardine of all people. Total. In his entire career. This is not fighting at the highest level. Hell, Matt Serra has more fights against top fighters than Evans does.