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 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. 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, lead staff reporter John Morgan and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

UFC Fight Night 75 headliner Roy Nelson wants to fight six times per year

  • 13 days ago

TOKYO – Roy Nelson is 39 years old and just 1-4 in his past five UFC appearances. The lackluster record would seemingly force him to slow down and assess what’s gone wrong, but Nelson says the only w read news >>

10 reasons to watch a PRIDE-worthy heavyweight headliner at UFC Fight Night 75

  • 13 days ago

Once a year still ain’t great for live UFC events in Japan, but UFC Fight Night 75 shows the promotion still has irons in the fire for the “Land of the Rising Sun.” Check out 10 reasons to tune in in read news >>

Who's got 'The Edge' in Josh Barnett vs. Roy Nelson at UFC Fight Night 75?

  • 14 days ago

Who’s got the edge in Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 75 heavyweight headliner between former champion Josh Barnett and Roy Nelson?Filed under: Featured, Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos read news >>

Bellator 142 salaries: Tito Ortiz ($300K), Phil Davis ($130K) earn top disclosed payouts

  • 15 days ago

Headliner and MMA vet Tito Ortiz was the top MMA earner at this past Saturday’s Bellator 142 event.Filed under: Bellator, Featured, Featured Videos, News, Videos read news >>

UFC Japan headliner Josh Barnett on PRIDE 2.0: 'What used to work, I don't know if it will again'

  • 15 days ago

PRIDE never die! At least not while Nobuyuki Sakakibara is alive and kicking. The former boss of the Japanese mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion -- which once served as competition for Ultimate Fight read news >>

Pat Healy stripped of belt ahead of tonight's Titan FC 35 headliner

  • 19 days ago

Pat Healy will still headline tonight’s Titan FC 35 event, but he won’t do so as the organization’s reigning lightweight titleholder.Filed under: News read news >>

RFA 30 video highlights: Anthony Smith forces standup, gives Brock Jardine a seat

  • 19 days ago

Brock Jardine spent the majority of Friday’s RFA 30 headliner trying to keep Anthony Smith on the mat. Turns out it was for good reason.Filed under: AXS TV Fights, Featured Videos, News, Videos read news >>

The Comeback: Paige VanZant now a headliner, Conor McGregor's stadium promise

  • 20 days ago

In a sport that never stops moving, even MMA junkies can struggle to keep up with all the latest news. If you missed any of Thursday’s biggest headlines, catch up with “The Comeback.”Filed under: Fea read news >>

Paige VanZant vs. Joanne Calderwood headlines UFC Fight Pass show on Dec. 10

  • 21 days ago

Paige VanZant will be a UFC headliner in her next fight, a Fight Pass main event vs. Joanne Calderwood in Las Vegas, Nevada. Just a few hours after Paige VanZant let fans know that she's signed a new read news >>

Paige VanZant gets first UFC headliner, meets Joanne Calderwood at UFC Fight Night 80

  • 21 days ago

After revealing she’d signed a new UFC deal today, Paige VanZant has been announced for her first UFC main event. She meets Joanne Calderwood at UFC Fight Night 80 on Dec. 10 in Las VegasFiled under: read news >>