Evans suffered a nasty first-round knockout loss to Anthony Smith on Saturday night at UFC 225, a setback which extended his current losing streak to five straight. Afterward, UFC president Dana White said that he spoke to Evans in the aftermath of the Smith fight, and he indicated that Evans could be at the end of his 13-year run with the promotion.
“When he lost, I had him come back to my room,” White said at Saturday’s UFC 225 post-fight press conference. “We hung out and talked, and yeah, it’s sad. Rashad was on season two of The Ultimate Fighter, so he was around through the whole building of this company. We all get old, man, and this is a young man’s sport. But if you look at what he [did], he won The Ultimate Fighter, he became a world champion, he [built] this team where he was like the guy and built all these young up-and-coming fighters. He’s been in big, huge fights.
“He’s been on the ride with us the whole way and he got to close it out in his hometown of Chicago, so not a bad run.”
Evans, 38, is one of the longest tenured fighters in the UFC. A former light heavyweight champion, Evans began his Octagon career in 2005 with a triumphant run on The Ultimate Fighter 2, then racked up a sensational 12-1-1 record over his next seven years with the company. During that time, he picked up notable wins over the likes of Michael Bisping, Tito Ortiz, Chuck Liddell, Quinton Jackson, Phil Davis, and Forrest Griffin — the last of which came at UFC 92 and earned Evans the 205-pound title.
But Evans has fallen on hard times in recent years, compiling a 2-7 record over his last nine fights and losing his last five in a row, including a pair of split-decision setbacks to Daniel Kelly and Sam Alvey in a short-lived run at middleweight. Prior to his return at UFC 225, Evans admitted that his matchup against Smith could potentially be the final fight of his career. And while Evans has yet to publicly speak on the matter, White indicated that Evans told him that he was hanging up his MMA gloves for good.
“Yeah, he did. Yeah,” White said. “Again, I don’t want to stomp on his — if he was going to retire or whatever, I don’t want to steal the thunder from him.
“And obviously after a fight like that, he’s super emotional too. So yeah, I hope he does.”
Evans released a long statement Sunday morning, but did not say if he would retire.
At one time FIGHTING was bigger than LIFE. Now LIFE is bigger than FIGHTING. It was easy to FIGHT for me because I came into this world raising hell FIGHTING. Then LIFE over time swaddled me like a parent does a screaming child and calmed me until I could see there was nothing to scream about. LIFE reveals to us all one day its beauty and its GRACE. Part of its beauty and GRACE is SURRENDER. Not SURRENDER in the way we think but a yielding nature that allows LIFE'S true beauty to be seen without non attachment. Only through non attachment can we truly see the beauty of LIFE and its random but beautiful balance. Our attachments in LIFE gives us the pain that make LIFE unbearable at times. Those attachments keeps us all pretending to some degree even though we are scared to death of what tomorrow can bring. I am at peace at what happened last night. I am a true FIGHTER at heart and there is no greater peace than when I get a chance to bare my soul for millions to see. 24 times I was successful and I experienced heights I never would've dreamed were possible and 8 times I came up short. Those 8 times I came up short laid the true seeds of growth as a person. In each one of my defeats I learned more about LIFE which made me into the person I was destined to be. I thank my opponent Anthony Smith for giving me yet another chance to grow as a person. As for my future I do not know where I will go from here but I never did know anyways. I was just making it up as I went along. I joke but in reality that is the truth. In actuality none of us know what is ahead from one moment to the next. We all just hope it's something we want. Sometimes it is something we want and some times it isn't. But the secret in LIFE is accepting both as if you chose them. Which is true Alchemy. In the End what will be will be because that is all LIFE has ever been. Everything else is an illusion of the mind. I am well and I am beyond blessed for those of you waiting to text to me and don't know what to say.. (the first text is always awkward after someone has been ko'd). "Do I say good job, nice try, I love you or everything will be ok" Have a blessed day. @ryanloco