The upcoming UFC 161 pay-per-view (PPV) event, scheduled for the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada on June 15, 2013, could be the last time we see former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans competing at 205 pounds.
That all depends on the success (or failure) of his opponent on fight night, fellow division stalwart Dan Henderson.
While he's still an impressive 17-3, Evans has now dropped back-to-back losses for the first time in his career. "Suga" tells UFC Tonight a third straight may not be enough to get him shit-canned, but it would definitely warrant a move down to a lower weight class.
"I watched a little bit of the (Nogueira) fight. It was a lackluster performance on my part. It was one of those life lessons. You watch a fight like that, and it's like, ‘What was I thinking? Where was my head?' It took me weeks to get my head around what I did. Dan Henderson is no secret. The power of Dan Henderson is in his huge right hand. He has great take down offensive, he has a wrestling background and he will get you on the ground and do ground-and-pound. For me, what I need to do is fight my fight. I need to have my transitions, from my punches to my takedowns, and they need to be sharp. No lazy half-shots. No pitty-pat punching. I need hard punching and hard takedowns. No, I'm not worried about losing my job. I put in a lot of good fights at the UFC and I'm confident that I'm not going to lose my next fight. If I lose my next fight, I would consider dropping down a weight class. If I drop down to 185 and things weren't going right, then I would think about retiring."
Has the sport passed him by?
After graduating as a heavyweight from season two of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), Evans dropped to 205 pounds and went on an 8-0-1 tear, culminating in a technical knockout win over Forrest Griffin at UFC 92 to claim the division title. He was subsequently upended by Lyoto Machida in his very next fight and since then, has gone 4-2.
Evans failed to secure a finish in all but one of those recent victories and has also been plagued with injuries.
That means the stakes have never been higher for the 33 year-old wrestler, who may not get another chance to be part of the "mix" if "Hendo" can get the better of him on fight night. Heck, he may not get another chance to do anything, if you look at what happened to the last high-profile fighter who was on a career "downside."