UFC

Where Former UFC Champ Rashad Evans Could Fight Next

The UFC has been home to many MMA legends, but everybody has to retire eventually. However, that is not the case for the former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans, who’s planning on making a comeback in the late stages of his career. Here’s a look at his UFC career and which organization he could be fighting in next.

Rashad Evans’ career highlights

Rashad Evans might have more fights left in him, just not in the UFC.
The UFC Hall of Fame welcomed Rashad Evans (right) in 2019. | Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Rashad Evans was one of the early pioneers of the modern UFC, and he joined the organization in 2005 by winning The Ultimate Fighter 2. A member of the now-defunct Blackzilians gym, Evans was involved with rivalries and drama for most of his career, and that made for some compelling entertainment. 

His main rival was Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, and like all good rivalries, the two didn’t fight each other for a long time. In the meanwhile, however, Evans fought and knocked out UFC Hall of Famer and former light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell in the second round at UFC 88. 

That spectacular knockout earned him a title shot against Forrest Griffin at UFC 92, and there Evans would knock Griffin out in the third round and claim the light heavyweight title. However, his run was short-lived as Evans was knocked out by Lyoto Machida in his very first title defense. 

A year later, Evans got his chance to settle his beef with Jackson. Evans did just that and beat Jackson up in a dominant three-round decision. Things were looking up for Evans as he stacked win after win. That came to an end when he faced Jon Jones at UFC 145 for the light heavyweight title.

Evans’ UFC lowlights 

Jones, like he’s done to many other fighters, decisively shut Evans out in a five-round decision. Evans lost his next fight and then won his next two, but after that, it was all downhill. 

After being knocked out by Glover Teixeira in the first round in 2016, Evans decided to lose some weight and slim down to the middleweight division. It didn’t work out for him, and after two straight losses, he moved back up to light heavyweight to challenge Anthony Smith in 2018.

The fight wasn’t competitive. Smith knocked Evans out in less than a minute with a spectacular knee, and with that, Evans retired from the sport. Evans had been analyzing fights on the side, but with his retirement, he became a full-time analyst. 

Although Rashad Evans is a smart man who’s coaching former Blackzilians like the current welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman, he is still a fighter at heart. Like ESPN reported, after Evans changed his diet, he felt like he could fight again. The UFC didn’t think so, and it released Evans from the organization so that he can find a fight somewhere else. 

Rashad Evans’ next home

There are many MMA organizations in the world other than the UFC, and many of them would be happy to have a star like Rashad Evans fight for them. However, there are two ideal candidates for Evans if he’s serious about fighting again. 

The first is Bellator, which is home to many former UFC fighters, as well as many great fighters who never joined the UFC in the first place. A lot of the men that Evans has fought in the past currently fight in Bellator too. Bellator could be a good place for Evans to fight in, as Bellator can give Evans an easy opponent to fight, and Bellator also pays its stars well. 

The other candidate for Evans is Asia-based ONE FC. It is the largest MMA organization in Asia, and two former UFC champions, Demetrious Johnson and Eddie Alvarez, currently compete in ONE FC. ONE FC also pays its stars well, and it could always use another former UFC champion in its ranks.