If UFC light heavyweight Rashad Evans looked like a shell of his former self in February when he fell by decision to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, it’s because he was. Evans endured a number of personal issues in 2012 including the end of his marriage and, by his own admission, lost some of his love for Mixed Martial Arts.
However, with a challenge like Dan Henderson on the horizon, Evans has rekindled the spark he was lacking leading up to the bout with Nogueira and feels fans should see a “Suga” ‘Shad they’re far more familiar with.
“Having the chance to fight somebody like Dan is a big deal, especially after not having the performance I would have liked [against Nogueira],” explained Evans in an interview with ESPN. “It’s good to get in there with somebody like Dan and answer a lot of critics and to show everybody that I am still one of the best guys in the weight class. I couldn’t find my rhythm against Nogueira; I couldn’t find my timing. It was just one of those things. It was like I was in a mental fog.”
“When I started fighting I enjoyed everything part of it: I enjoyed training so much, I enjoyed learning. But lately it had gotten to the point where it was something that I had to do, it’d become somewhat monotonous,” concluded Evans. “This is the type of fight that keeps you up at night, because you want to do well. My back is against the wall. And this is when I perform at my best.”
The 33-year old Evans is currently on the only losing streak of his career, coming up short against champion Jon Jones prior to facing Nogueira. He holds an overall record of 17-3-1 with past success against the likes of Thiago Silva, Forrest Griffin, and Quinton Jackson.
Evans-Henderson is scheduled for June 15 in Winnipeg at UFC 161.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC/MMAWEEKLY