Rashad Evans said prior to UFC 161 that he was looking to get his swagger back, and although it wasn't the most convincing win of his career, he took a big step forward in accomplishing that goal by defeating mixed martial arts (MMA) legend Dan Henderson.
In front of a very pro-Henderson crowd at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, "Suga" narrowly earned a split decision victory over "Hendo" after three hard-fought rounds.
Evans escaped the dreaded three-fight losing streak by defeating the former PRIDE and Strikeforce champion and despite his underwhelming performance against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira earlier this year, still has to be considered among the elite of the light heavyweight division.
Now that he is back on the winning track, there are several options that open up for the former 205-pound king, and the most intriguing of them all may be a cut down to middleweight.
Evans has teased for a while now that he was considering a move down to 185 pounds (and said he was open to the idea at the UFC 161 post-fight press conference), but he didn't want to take off from the division he once ruled on a two-fight losing streak.
With a notable victory over Henderson now under his belt, now would seem like as good a time as any to test the waters down a weight class.
What Evans has also said recently, though, is that he desperately wants another crack at reigning light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who he lost to in convincing fashion at UFC 145 in April 2012.
If that's the case, Evans is going to have to win at least one or two more fights before the possibility of a second fight with "Bones" is even considered by the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) brass.
While stranger things have happened in the past, there is no chance of Evans skipping to the front of the line with Alexander Gustafsson slated to get the next crack at Jones at UFC 165 in September and Lyoto Machida likely on deck if he gets past Phil Davis at UFC 163 this summer.
If Evans hopes to get another chance to mix it up with the champ, he'll need to get his hand raised against at least one more top contender, and if you go by the official UFC rankings, there is only available fighter between Evans and the champion.
With a 4-0 record inside the Octagon, the 33-year-old has proven worthy of a shot against another top contender in the division and it doesn't get much bigger than one of the most accomplished fighters out there in Evans.
Stylistically, both guys match up well as they pack a tremendous punch and have strong grappling abilities to boot. It would be an unpredictable match up and the winner would certainly have a valid claim as being deserving of a championship fight.
Outside of Teixeira, the division is thin on worthwhile opponents for Evans, so unless he's planning to drop down to middleweight, it seems relatively clear Teixeira is the next fight to make for The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season 2 winner.
Who would you like to see Evans face next? Let us know in the comments section below.
For more news and notes on UFC 161: "Evans vs. Henderson," visit our complete event archive here.