rashad-evans-36.jpg(This story appeared in today’s edition of USA TODAY.)

Even as the fight was happening, Rashad Evans knew it was a bad one.

The former UFC light heavyweight titlist could feel it as he stood in the cage across from Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 156 in February. Nogueira waited for Evans to attack. Evans waited for Nogueira. In the end, Evans acknowledges, “Really nothing happened.”

Actually, one thing did happen. Evans (17-3-1 MMA, 12-3-1 UFC) lost a unanimous decision, his second in a row.

In nine years as a pro, he had never lost back-to-back fights. He had also never lost while doing so little to try to win, which was what really bothered him.

“My coach was in the corner telling me, ‘You’ve got to go,’” Evans told USA TODAY Sports. “But I couldn’t hit that switch. I just couldn’t turn it on and let it all hang out.”

Now that he has had a few months to dwell on it, he thinks he knows why. It has a lot to do with an accusation that has followed him since he first appeared in the UFC in 2005, when fans and some fellow fighters criticized him for being too cocky.

“I turned down the swagger a little because I wanted to be more focused in my competitions,” Evans said. “But when I did that, I took a little piece away from me. I took a little of that go inside of me that pushed me, that part that made me get into a dogfight with anybody and do anything to get the win.”

Evans will get his chance to rediscover that swagger in the main event of UFC 161, which takes place at MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, on Saturday (pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET).

He faces former PRIDE champion Dan Henderson (29-9 MMA, 6-3 UFC), who is coming off a lackluster decision loss of his own to former champion Lyoto Machida in February.

With both fighters seeking redemption, Evans doesn’t expect any shortage of action. But he has to find the right balance, especially against a knockout artist such as Henderson.

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

“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.”

As Evans knows, that kind of attitude brings out haters. Then again, so can an overabundance of caution.

“No one wrote a book on what you should and shouldn’t do,” Evans said. “I’m just making it up as I go along. 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.”

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

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

Related News

UFC on FOX 22's Alex Morono says James Moontasri asked for catchweight fight while in sauna

  • 28 days ago
  • 13 views

Welterweight Alex Morono knew James Moontastri was struggling even before they stepped into the octagon this past weekend at UFC on FOX 22. Filed under: Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos read news >>

USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie Rankings, Dec. 20: Wineland back to winning ways

  • 27 days ago
  • 6 views

This past weekend saw both UFC and Bellator host prospect-filled events, but one wily veteran was impressive enough to make a move in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA rankings.Filed under: Bellator read news >>

UFC 207's Neil Magny says past mistakes have him prepared for ex-champ Johny Hendricks

  • 24 days ago
  • 15 views

DENVER – Neil Magny has been in a position to need to rebound before, and he came through with flying colors. Filed under: News, UFC, Videos read news >>

Reminder: 'Countdown to UFC 207: Nunes vs. Rousey' debuts today on FS1

  • 22 days ago
  • 25 views

As a reminder, the UFC’s traditional pre-event show returns today with the debut of “Countdown to UFC 207: Nunes vs. Rousey” on FS1.Filed under: News, UFC, Videos read news >>

Watch today's weigh-in in dynamic 360 video

  • 19 days ago
  • 0 views

UFC is making history again as the first professional sport to test out the new live 360 video streaming technology on Periscope via Twitter at the UFC 207: NUNES vs. ROUSEY ceremonial weigh-in event read news >>

MMAjunkie Radio (1 p.m. ET): UFC 207's Louis Smolka and Alex Garcia, Eric Del Fierro (in studio)

  • 19 days ago
  • 2 views

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guests Louis Smolka, Alex Garcia and Eric Del Fierro.Filed under: MMAjunkie Radio, News, UFC read news >>

UFC 207: 6 Takeaways From the Night Ronda Rousey Fell Again | MMAWeekly.com

  • 16 days ago
  • 95 views

Wow, a lot of haters are happy today. Ronda Rousey got KTFO again, worse than the first time and now her future as an MMA fighter looks in doubt. read news >>

After UFC Fight Night 103 scratch, Jimmie Rivera wants ex-champ Dominick Cruz

  • 7 days ago
  • 11 views

UFC bantamweight contender Jimmie Rivera won’t be fighting at Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 103 event. However, he’s looking to compete soon – and against a big-name opponent.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

MMAjunkie Radio (1 p.m. ET): Max Holloway, Jeremy Stephens, Dan Tom, UFC 207 breakdown

  • 18 days ago
  • 3 views

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guests Max Holloway, Jeremy Stephens and Dan Tom.Filed under: MMAjunkie Radio, News, UFC read news >>

UFC Fight Night 104 ticket pre-sale starts today; $40 in the door for Bermudez-'Korean Zombie'

  • 13 days ago
  • 7 views

Just $40 will get you in the door to watch the return of “The Korean Zombie.”Filed under: News, UFC read news >>