There is still some fight left in Rashad Evans.
Two weeks ago, Evans was brutally knocked out in 72 seconds by Glover Teixeira in the main event of UFC on FOX 19. The loss had many, including UFC president Dana White, believing Evans would hang up his gloves and transition permanently to his desk job as an analyst for Fox Sports. But in an interview with Inside MMA on AXS TV, Evans reaffirmed his desire to continue competing and talked about what he needs to change to right the ship.
"There definitely needs to be a change. And the hardest thing about that fight is the fact that it was only a minute and a half. When they're so short like that, it's hard to find that black box to see where things went wrong. And who knows what would have happened if it would have gone longer and you have all these questions in your mind that you keep on saying. It's hard because I felt like I had a great camp. I felt like I was physically strong and my timing was good and I really have no excuse. I can't think of one thing to say 'this is an area to look at that I need to get better [in]'. It's disappointing and it's really frustrating for me because this is the second time in my career I'm riding a two-fight losing streak."
Not only is Evans on a two-fight losing streak, he has lost four of his last six. Prior to the Teixeira loss, he dropped a unanimous decision to Ryan Bader. He went into that fight riding a two-fight winning streak, a stoppage of former middleweight contender Chael Sonnen and a very close split decision over Dan Henderson that many thought he deserved to lose. Prior to those bouts, he lost back-to-back decisions to Antonio Rogerio Noguiera and Jon Jones in a UFC light heavyweight title fight.
After his loss to Teixeira, Evans admits to feeling low, but despite his recent set backs he is still believes he is supposed to continue fighting.
"I'm definitely gonna come back. The biggest test for me was this. You know, after I lost I was very upset and I threw a little pity party. Went and hung out with my family. And then about 3 in the morning. 3:30. I had a feeling inside, it was just anxiousness. I got up, put my running shoes on, and I ran for three hours. I just ran and I ran and it was just, I needed to kinda just cleanse my mind and just move past it and that was my sign that I need to continue to keep on fighting."
Since Evans still wishes to compete the question becomes who would be a suitable next opponent. Evans is currently the No. 7 ranked light heavyweight contender with losses to half the men ranked ahead of them and he won't fight another one of them (his training partner Anthony Johnson). Should he choose to stay at light heavyweight, a potential match-up against the recently defeated Ovince Saint Preux could materialize, but Evans posed another idea.
"After that I was like ‘you know what, I'm gonna make some changes.' Possibly drop down to 185. I feel like I can compete at 205 of course, but at the end of the day I want to be able to physically be able to dominate if I need to and I feel like at some point I may have lost that a bit at 205. I just want to do something to kinda switch things up to be a little bit fresh. I'll still take fights at 205 and whatnot but I might explore the idea of 185 a little bit more."
Dropping weight to compete in a lower weight class is one of the most widely used tools a fighter has to rejuvenate his career and 185 could be a good fit for Evans who has always been an undersized light heavyweight. It also opens up some new possibilities for him and could potentially be the genesis of another title run in a division still looking for more contenders. (Interestingly, it would also mark the fourth fighter Jon Jones defeated during his first light heavyweight reign who either previously was a middleweight or later dropped down to 185.)
Evans has no timetable for his return to the cage but if he does drop to middleweight it would mark the third weight division he has fought in in the UFC, having entered the promotion by winning The Ultimate Fighter 2 heavyweight tournament final by defeating Brad Imes. But regardless of the weight class, Evans is not ready to call it a day just yet.
"I'm not used to this. It's something that's scary but at the end of the day I believe I can overcome."
You can watch the full interview below, where Evans also talks about Conor McGregor and Jon Jones.
5 MUST-READ STORIES
197. In case you don't know UFC 197 happened this past weekend. Here are the results.
200. Daniel Cormier says he will see a doctor this week and if possible would like to fight Jon Jones at UFC 200.
Switch the style up. Jon Jones says had Daniel Cormier not pulled out of the fight, he would have beaten Cormier up badly.
Vacation. Nate Diaz says if he isn't fighting Conor McGregor at UFC 200 then he is going on vacation.
Smart. Holly Holm says she is planning to stay ready in case someone pulls out of UFC 200.
EXTRA CREDIT READING
Belt it out. An interesting interview on FringeContender.com with championship belt maker Dave Millican. A different look at an part of fight sport most people don't think too much about. (thanks @perigosogracie)
'There's only one UFC flyweight champion.'
DC has got to be kicking himself that he had to pull out of this fight.
Andrey Koreshkov does a post-fight interview after putting a thumping down on Bendo. This guy has skills.
Promo for 198.
Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier keep TTTHS in business.
And of course some fight highlights. Legacy 54 was this past weekend featuring All-World grappler Rafael Lovato Jr. Watch it if you can.
Jones on his performance.
Some nights Jordan scored 60 other nights he would score 20. I'm just going to be grateful and keep winning.— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) April 24, 2016
JBJ is still out there screwing with DC.
Joe Rogan makes his thoughts known.
I really wish we would get the whole story behind this instead of speculation.
Everyone flew in. Respect.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) April 22, 2016
But not everyone up there made the company 400million in 8 months.
Who is driving?
Rory came out on team McGregor over the weekend.
once opun a time fighters needed promoters and promoters need fighters equally. at somepoint the balance shifted— Rory MacDonald (@rory_macdonald) April 23, 2016
If this isn't a joke, then I don't understand how he can still be smiling like this.
In the Hospital fighting the MRSA Virus.... please pray for me pic.twitter.com/cyWerQL0fh— Sage Northcutt (@sagenorthcutt) April 23, 2016
This is glorious.
Ali Bags is making a push for a rematch.
I really hoped that Cejudo would compete against Johnson, but little did I know. Demitrious picked him apart in 2 minutes! I knew he would win, but not that early. I already said that apart from me no one will beat him. HEY UFC @ufc stop bolding me, give me a fight and I promise to get to Johnson! The whole county of Russia awaits!!! #Ufc #mma @danawhiteufc @malkikawa @ufc Я немного надеялся на то , что Сехудо , хоть какое то противостояние окажет Джонсону , но не тут то было , он разобрал его за 2 мин , я знал что он выиграет , но не думал что так быстро Я уже сказал о том , что кроме меня у него ни кто не выиграет , эй UFC хаатит меня держать , дайте мне бои , и я обещаю , что в ближайшее время я доберусь до Джонсона . вся Россия ждёт этого !!!
That's a lot of badass for one picture.
And GGG doing the damn thing in round 2. GGG is the most fun guy in boxing and maybe all of combat sports.
Norifumi Yamamoto (18-6-0) vs. Chris Beal (10-2-0); UFC Fight Night 89, June 18.
Michael Page (10-0-0) vs. Fernando Gonzales (25-13-0); Bellator 158. July 16.
Linton Vassell (16-5-0) vs. Francis Carmont (24-11-0); Bellator 158, July 16.
Matt Mitrione (9-5-0) vs. Carl Seumanutafa (10-6-0); Bellator Dynamite 2, June 4.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2015: UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson retained his championship by submitting Kyoji Horiguchi via armbar with 1 second left in the 5th round in the main event of UFC 186.
2008: Arguably the greatest women's mixed martial artist of all time, Megumi Fujii submitted Seo Hee Ham with an armbar in the main even of the final Smackgirl event, Smackgirl World ReMix 2008 Second Round.
2004: Kevin Randleman stunningly knocked out Mirko Cro Cop with punches at Pride Total Elimination 2004. Also on the card, Pride heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko submitted Mark Coleman via armbar in the first round of the Pride Heavyweight Grand Prix.
2003: Matt Hughes defended his UFC welterweight championship, defeating Sean Sherk via unanimous decision in the main event of UFC 42: Sudden Impact. Also on the card, Rich Franklin made his UFC debut, stopping Evan Tanner with punches in the first round.
1989: UFC featherweight Enrique Barzola was born. UFC lightweight Leonardo Texeira was born.
1988: UFC veteran T.J. Waldburger was born.
1985: UFC lightweight Paul Felder was born.
1981: UFC, Bellator, and WSOF veteran Clifford Starks was born.
1976: Pride and Pancrase veteran Kazuo Misaki was born
Think I missed a spot? Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.