This is absolutely new territory for Rashad Evans.

The former light heavyweight champion didn’t know what it was like to lose two straight fights until he left the cage after meeting Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in February. And it hasn’t been something he’s been enjoying.

Evans (17-3-1 MMA, 12-3-1 UFC) headlines UFC 161 later this month against fellow legend Dan Henderson (29-9 MMA, 6-3 UFC), and he’ll be trying to snap that two-fight skid in a major way.

“I’m real excited,” Evans told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). “It’s a good chance for me to jump back on the scene and let everybody know I’ve stumbled a bit, but I’m definitely not out. I’ve lost twice in a row in wrestling, but it’s been a while since it’s happened to me – and it doesn’t feel good at all.”

Losing back-to-back fights in his collegiate wrestling days is a lot different than losing two in a row at his level in the UFC, though. At UFC 145 a little more than a year ago, he lost a unanimous decision to former friend and teammate Jon Jones, trying to reclaim the 205-pound title he once held.

Then came the loss to Nogueira at UFC 156 – a fight that Evans said he just wasn’t in the right frame of mind to turn the afterburners on.

“In my last fight, especially, I’ve never felt so calm and relaxed, and I just could not find that switch to be like, ‘All right – I’m about to tear this dude.’ I couldn’t find that switch,” Evans said. “I couldn’t find it. That’s one of the things I had to go back and look at to see what happened. Why wasn’t I able to find that when I wanted to? I’ve got a lot of issues that allow me to always tap into that feeling of rage, and I wasn’t able to tap into anything.

“If you’re in shape and know how to fight, you have to put it together on fight night. But I didn’t put it together and I didn’t have the right mindset to go in there and compete. You’ve just got to be ready to fight. Throw technique and all that aside – it’s a fight. When you forget to make it a fight, you’re already losing a big advantage.”

So against Henderson, he’ll be hoping to find that switch to avoid three straight losses, which would be practically unthinkable given his resume.

He’s been preparing for a straight-ahead fighter, which he said differs from training for someone like Jones.

“Dan Henderson is a bread-and-butter type of guy, straight up,” Evans said. “(There’s) nothing fancy about him at all. That doesn’t make him less threatening, but it doesn’t make him the most difficult opponent to plan for as opposed to Jon Jones. That basic stuff is the exact thing that gets people in trouble. And that’s what’s kept him at the top of the sport for as long as it has. When it comes to throwing perfect technique, there’s no one in the game at that level who has it (like him). He’s surgical with that right hand. He’s not the fastest, he’s not the strongest, he’s not the biggest – but he’s super accurate and he’s effective with his technique.

But Evans right now actually is thankful for one thing. For basically four years, he really was only involved in fights that were going to get him a title shot, or title fights themselves – he beat Forrest Griffin for the belt at UFC 92 before losing it to Lyoto Machida at UFC 98 and eventually getting back to challenge for it again against Jones.

For a change, Evans said it’s nice to be able to just train for a fight without thinking about all the what’s-at-stake stuff – even though the reality is, the loser between he and Henderson may never get back into contention again.

“I feel like a big to-do was made about ‘title shot, title shot, title shot,’” Evans said. “Honestly, I just want to go out there and fight and love fighting. When you fight from that place, it brings me back to when I first started fighting. I would go and fight in these tournaments and get paid $500 to fight three guys, and I didn’t care. It was all because I liked to fight and it was fun. When you start to make it all about a title and all that stuff, it gets to the point where you feel like if you’re not fighting for a belt or a chance to fight for the belt, it’s not really worth it.

“But you know what? It’s time to make fighting just about fighting. If you go out there and fight hard enough and put enough work in, you’re going to get a title shot. So I’m just going to let it take care of itself. I’m 33 years old, I’m still young in the sport, and I’m just going to do me and have fun in the sport. I’m not tired of fighting – I want to fight.”

For the latest on UFC 161, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie.com Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, MMAjunkie.com lead staff reporter John Morgan and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

view original article >>

Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Who ya got?!? Fellow fighters predict UFC's Glover Teixeira vs. Rashad Evans headliner

  • 17 days ago
  • 27 views

TAMPA, Fla. – Who wins UFC on FOX 19’s light heavyweight main event between Brazilian slugger Glover Teixeira and former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans? Their fellow fighters give their read news >>

MMAjunkie Radio (1 p.m. ET): UFC on FOX 19's Rashad Evans and Cub Swanson, Joey Varner

  • 28 days ago
  • 8 views

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guests Rashad Evans and Cub Swanson from the upcoming UFC on FOX 19 card, and WSOF 30 broadcaster Joey Varner in the studio to co-host.Filed u read news >>

Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #2175 with Rashad Evans, Cub Swanson, Joey Varner

  • 27 days ago
  • 5 views

Stream or download Monday’s edition of MMAjunkie Radio with guests Rashad Evans, Cub Swanson and Joey Varner.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Rashad Evans asked for Jon Jones rematch, but UFC on FOX 19 booking nixed that

  • 27 days ago
  • 17 views

Rashad Evans definitely wanted another crack at Jon Jones and asked the UFC for the opportunity. The problem was, as it often is, bad timing.Filed under: Featured Videos, News, Radio Highlight, UFC, read news >>

UFC 197 headliner Jon Jones pleads not guilty to drag racing charges in New Mexico

  • 27 days ago
  • 10 views

Jon Jones is fighting a quintet of traffic citations that triggered a brief jail stint this past week, but they won’t get in the way of his interim title fight at UFC 197. Jones has plead not guilty read news >>

Tony Ferguson Injured; Rashad Evans vs. Glover Teixeira Now Headlines UFC on FOX 19 Main Event

  • 27 days ago
  • 23 views

Tony Ferguson is out of his scheduled UFC on FOX 19 headlining bout opposite Khabib Nurmagomedov. read news >>

Rampage Jackson Returns to Bellator vs. Satoshi Ishii in Dynamite 2 Headliner

  • 26 days ago
  • 15 views

After a year out of action, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson returns to Bellator to headline the promotion's second hybrid event, Dynamite 2. read news >>

Video: Watch UFC Fight Night 86 headliner Ben Rothwell quickly tap Matt Mitrione

  • 26 days ago
  • 29 views

Before Ben Rothwell goes after his fifth straight win and fifth straight heavyweight finish in the UFC Fight Night 86 main event on Sunday in Croatia, check out how he stopped Matt Mitrione this past read news >>

Dada 5000 claims he suffered 2 heart attacks during Bellator 149 headliner vs. Kimbo Slice

  • 26 days ago
  • 66 views

The medical troubles suffered by Dhafir “Dada 5000” Harris in the wake of Bellator 149’s headliner were apparently even worse than previously reported.Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News read news >>

UFC Fight Night 86 co-headliner Gabriel Gonzaga wasn’t too worried about losing his job

  • 26 days ago
  • 4 views

All appearances to the contrary, longtime UFC heavyweight Gabriel Gonzaga said he didn’t fight to avoid losing his job in his last outing. He had more immediate concerns.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>