Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White said Rashad Evans looked “old and slow” following his unanimous decision loss to Ryan Bader at UFC 192, which took place in Oct. 2015 in Houston, Texas.
“Suga,” who returned from an extended injury layoff to battle “Darth” in “The Lone Star State,” had a chance to prove White (and a lot of other naysayers) wrong in his follow-up performance, a 205-pound showdown against light heavyweight power puncher Glover Teixeira.
Instead, Evans was knocked out in the very first round.
Faced with a two-fight losing streak for just the second time in his storied mixed martial arts (MMA) career, the former UFC light heavyweight champion finally pulled the trigger on his oft-teased drop to 185 pounds.
“I feel absolutely amazing. Training camp was beyond amazing. I wish I did make the drop sooner, to be honest. That’s the thing about it, it goes to show ego and pride. At one point I actually thought it would be in my best interest, physically speaking, after going with some of the monsters at 205, that maybe I should drop weight classes, but my pride got in the way. And it was like, ‘Well if I go down now, it will only look like I’m going down because I lost.’ But the reality of the situation was, I needed to go down. Not only just physically competing with those guys, but everything that came along with making me a 185-pounder has been great for me physically speaking. Because as I’m bringing my body physically closer to 185, everything in my life has to follow path, so then I was actually more focused and more about what I should be about, instead of being about all the nonsense.”
The result was a physique that was unequivocally no-nonsense (see it).
Whether or not that drop to middleweight pays dividends has yet to be determined. Evans was expected to make his 185-pound debut at the UFC 205 pay-per-view (PPV) event last weekend in New York; however, a medical snafu bounced him from the “Big Apple” fight card.
Evans (19-5-1) has been rebooked to throw hands against longtime division stalwart Tim Kennedy as part of the UFC 206 extravaganza going down next month in Toronto, Ontario, Canada (more on that here).
And win or lose, at least he’ll be rid of the fat jokes.