Usually, most mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters have extra motivation heading into a fight when a potential and/or future title shot is on the line.
And while this weekend's (June 15, 2013) UFC 161 main event from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, between Dan Henderson and Rashad Evans is far from an outright 205-pound No. 1 contender eliminator match, the two scrappy Light Heavyweight veterans do have extra incentive to win.
Aside from avoiding their second (Henderson) or third (Evans) consecutive defeats inside the Octagon, "Hendo" and "Suga" will compete for the opportunity to at least "get close" to another possible title shot.
According to comments from Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White during today's (June 13, 2013) UFC 161 media scrum, the loser Dan Henderson vs. Rashad Evans loser will "statistically" probably not come close to challenging again for a world title in his promotion.
As in never again.
Evans made the most of his first-ever UFC title fight, besting Forrest Griffin at UFC 92 back in 2008. After losing his strap to Lyoto Machida at UFC 98 the following year, "Suga" worked his way back up the ladder to earn his second title shot against Jon Jones at UFC 145.
Henderson, meanwhile, has had equal opportunities to compete for a UFC title ... in two different divisions ... in back-to-back bouts. "Hendo" was outpointed by Quinton Jackson at UFC 75 on all three judges scorecards in a close fight back in 2007, only to get choked out by Middleweight champion Anderson Silva in his next outing at UFC 82.
After losing his top spot in the division to "The Dragon" at UFC 157, "Hendo" now finds himself fighting not only for an important "W," but for the possibility of ever vying for UFC gold. An accomplishment that has alluded him his entire MMA career.
How's that for motivation?