It seems like an eternity since Rashad Evans wasn’t only the UFC light heavyweight champion, but also an undefeated wrecking machine, laying waste to everyone in his path. Even though “Suga” was knocked out by Lyoto Machida and lost his title in 2009, the “Ultimate Fighter” veteran bounced back with four wins in a row.
Then the losses began piling up.
Back-to-back defeats preceded two wins, followed by a string of injuries and out-of-competition drama which reduced Evans to an afterthought. Losing to Ryan Bader in October didn’t help matters, but the Blackzilians representative was focused more than ever coming into Saturday’s bout with Glover Teixeira. Unfortunately for Evans, he was knocked out at 1:48 of the first round.
Naturally, questions of whether he’ll continue to fight swirled all over the MMA world and at the post-fight press conference. Evans was too disappointed to make any commitments to fighting again.
“It’s disappointing, to say the least,” Evans said. “I’ve been at the top and I’m riding a real low right now. It’s sad, it’s embarrassing, but welcome to being a fighter.”
To his credit, Evans took the loss like a champion and make no excuses for what had unfolded. He revealed that he was in the best shape he had been in in years and that he was free of nagging injuries.
“Physically I feel good,” he admitted. “I was a little rattled at first, but I felt like everything was on point. He just caught me with a good punch. I have no excuses. It happens in this sport.
“I made a mistake,” the former champ added. “I shouldn’t have switched stances into a defensive position. I threw a punch just to adjust him and I paid the price for it.”
Losing is always a tough oil to swallow and Evans was visibly confounded at what unfolded inside the Octagon an hour earlier. Though he knows how it blew up in his face, he couldn’t put into words how gutted he felt by losing such a critical fight.
“I’m embarrassed but you have to go on,” he remarked through gritted teeth. “This is all part of it. The hardest thing is working through the disappointment. I was ready to fight five rounds if need be but I came up short. I have to wear it. I have to accept it.”
But the burning question remained: will he continue to fight?
“As of right now, that’s not a clear decision that I can say,” he said. “I don’t want to lose hope or lose heart fighting. I’m just embarrassed and disappointed.”