Rashad Evans announced his retirement on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on Monday afternoon. This announcement came as a surprise to no one since Evans has been on a downslide for years. Evans last three losses, in particular, have hugely been disappointing. Even when he was losing to fighters like Sam Alvey and Dan Kelly I thought that maybe the old Rashad Evans would come back, but that wasn’t the case. It became highly obvious that he was a shell of the fighter he used to be.
When I started watching MMA in 2008 Rashad was just a baby; he had his whole career ahead of him. My first memory of Rashad was seeing him destroy Chuck Liddell’s chin with all-time highlight reel KO. Not long after Evans became the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion after beating Forrest Griffin. Rashad would lose the title Lyoto Machida in his next fight but would remain a top contender for another six years.
Evans was always cocky and arrogant, he was like a less douchey version of Michael Bisping. Evans was more tolerable because for a long time I didn’t think very highly of Bisping, my opinion on that matter has changed in recent years. Evans was the top heel in the light heavyweight division. Evans run on the Ulitmate Fighter 10 as a rival coach against Rampage Jackson was one of the more memorable seasons. Tensions boiled to a fever pitch when Rashad ran his mouth to Rampage and the two came face to face nose to nose while you sat there and watched if they were actually going to fight before the fight! Cooler heads prevailed and the only thing that happened was Rampage ripping a cardboard door off its hinges. The two finally fought at UFC 114 and within the first-minute Rampage severely rocked Evans, but Evans would go on to win a decision.
Evans would go on to string together a few victories against Tito Ortiz and Phil Davis. The 4 fight win streak led to one of the most anticipated fights in UFC history, Jones vs Evans. It was a classic story of betrayal. Evan was a former champion that was run out of the gym at Jackson/Wink MMA in favor of once in generation talent Jon “Bones” Jones. Evans felt betrayed by Jones because he Jones had turned his back on him when Evans thought they were friends. Evans was at the top of the game at the time and in the best shape of his life while training with the Blackzillians. Jones would go to dominate Evans. The loss would lead to Evans career downturn.
For a long time, I didn’t like Rashad Evans. Evans was a cocky punk that I always I just couldn’t get behind and he knocked out Forrest Griffing, one of my one of my all-time favorite fighters. My tone changed when during the UFC 167 post-fight press conference, Evans voiced his concern for My all-time favorite fighter Georges St. Pierre. Evans seemed genuinely concerned about St.Pierres condition and hoped that he was ok. watching that press conference in my dark bedroom that night totally changed my perception of Rashad and I became of fan of his that night. Unfortunately for me, Rashad’s career was about to take a dump. After I became a Rashad Evans fan he went on to lose his final five fights, including two by knock out. Sorry, Rashad!
Rashad was always one of the guys that wanted to get out of the fight game before it was too late, but Rashad was ok with knowing that fighting quit him first. After all these years of watching dudes fight in cages, I can say that Rashad Evans was one of the best I’ve seen. Not many fighters have the run of success he had. I would say Evans is a lock for the hall of fame. I’ll always remember Rashad as that dude that almost put Chuck Liddell in a body bag Evans is a great analyst and I wish him nothing, but the best in retirement.