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Rashad Evans: “When I go out there and compete, I have to be cocky.”

Rashad Evans: “When I go out there and compete, I have to be cocky.”

UFC light heavyweight Rashad Evans is one of the division’s most polarizing pugilists. While Evans is a former champion with knockout power and tremendous takedown ability, “Suga” ‘Shad also tends to rub fans the wrong way with his occasional arrogance and contentment with riding out decisions instead of going for the kill.

However, don’t expect Evans to change his approach anytime soon after an attempt to tone things down had a negative impact on his in-ring output at in a February fight with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. The 33-year old recently spoke to USA Today about the role self-confidence plays in his preparation, making it clear he wouldn’t be tucking his tail against Dan Henderson night at UFC 161.

“When I go out there and compete, I have to be cocky. That’s how I compete. I have to have my swag out there and be like that because that’s a part of me. It’s a part you’d never see of me in regular life because I joke around and smile, and you don’t see that side,” said Evans. “But when I compete, I want the person I’m fighting to know that he shouldn’t have even signed the contract to fight me. He should be embarrassed, and I want to embarrass him for doing so.”

“No one wrote a book on what you should and shouldn’t do. I’m just making it up as I go along,” he continued. “But at the same time, I have to be honest with myself. I have to be real with myself and compete the way I’m feeling. When I’m in the moment, my body will do what it does. And when that happens, I have to trust that it will be OK.”

Evans-Henderson will meet in the main event of Saturday night’s show. If defeated, the 17-3-1 Evans will find himself on the first three-fight skid of his career.