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Hendo: Rashad Evans gets nervous in there sometimes


Former multi-class Pride champion Dan Henderson has seen it all in his storied MMA career. The only accolade that has eluded him has been that elusive UFC title belt, and at 42 years of age, he’s still training hard to one day climb that mountain. He has to win, and most likely win impressively, against Rashad Evans at this weekend’s UFC 161 in order to retain any hope of getting a title shot. 

That’s a lot of pressure for any fighter, even Henderson, because it’s never easy to know that your last chance could be looming. I don’t see Hendo as a fighter who wants to collect paychecks well into his forties being a gatekeeper, so it is basically win and continue, or lose and face a fade into irrelevancy. But the shockingly powerful striker from California doesn’t seem too worried about the task at hand. In fact, he spoke up to Frank Trigg of MMA Oddsbreaker to say he’s found some holes in Evans’ game that he’ll look to exploit come Saturday:

“I think he gets a little nervous sometimes in there.  I’m going to be pressuring him, but not overly aggressive where I end up getting taken down easy.  I want to make sure I pressure and control the middle and wait for him to kind of come at me a little bit, but still just pressure him and be aggressive, but not to where I’m going to be getting taken down.”

“I wouldn’t go as far as saying scared.  He’s just a little bit shy when it comes to that.  He’s a little hesitant sometimes.  Maybe he’s thinking too much, I don’t know.”

Indeed Evans was maligned for his hesitancy and ineffective striking in his lackluster decision loss to Rogerio Nogueira back in February. And being hesitant is the last thing you’ll want to do against Henderson, because one punch can put your lights out. If that happens, there’ll be many fans calling for ‘Suga’s’ retirement, claiming that he no longer has what it takes. This could serve to motivate him, as he’s said he’s returned to the training tactics that got him to the top, or it could freeze him up and result in another loss.

While this weekend’s main event does definitely have the capacity for fireworks, it also could display some tentative action from the combatants with so much on the line. Hendo insists that he’ll push the pace, but not enough to play into Evans’ wrestling, because the fight could be a snoozer if he does just that:

“It’s really got the potential to be a really good fight if the action kind of gets pushed, and it’s got the potential to be a pretty boring fight too if he takes me down and puts me on my back too much then that slows it way down.”

Rashad Evans’ movement and elusiveness have always helped him throughout his UFC tenure. But now it’s time to stand and fight, albeit with a gameplan, if he wants to remain at the top levels of the UFC. Does Hendo have a point here in his analysis? 

Check out the full interview below:


  • Hey Rashad. It's Dan. Yeah, Henderson. So I was thinking. I know we're competing in an MMA fight and all. But can we just do what I'm good at. Boxing is the only thing I have a chance of beating you with. And wrestling makes me tired. I don't wanna do it anymore. Oh and also if you could not move around too much that would be great. Mmmkay? I would have knocked out Machida if only he would have just stood there like he's supposed to.

  • It seems some of Hendo's pre fight words have been for the purpose of getting in Rashad's head. Hendo says if Rashad takes him down a lot the fight will be boring. He recently stated that Rashad doesn't "run" quite as much as Machida. "Quite as much" Maybe he's trying to appeal to Rashad's pride, since both fighters have been pretty clear about their gameplans. Rashad has already said he wants to take Hendo down a lot and pound him out on the ground. Hendo made it clear he just wants to stand and punch. I could see Rashad also winning this by submission if he can take Hendo down pretty easily.

    I'm pretty sure Rashad is going to play it safe for the most part. Get the win, and go home. I think it'll be entertaining though and even on the ground Evans will throw many strikes, and just be relentless like his old self again. Rashad Evans and Chael Sonnen are two of the only wrestlers that I have found entertaining, even when they choose to fight on the ground as much of the fight as possible. They never stall and are always looking to throw bombs down on their opponent.

    Both Rashad and Chael have made me wince when they throw a guy down and are standing over him, and throw a huge punch down on his head just as they throw his legs out of the way. That standing over him punch looks like it lands so dang hard. Sometimes they are also just falling on top of him to create even more power on that punch, and then land in his guard. The point is both guys have the best style you can have if you're going to wrestle a lot. The throw him down and maul him style.

    I just hope if Rashad wins by decision, that if he does throw a lot of shots and stays aggressive, that Dana White doesn't act like a fickle fan and criticize him for not standing in front of Henderson. Rashad can easily win this fight if he does not let any mind games or words during the fight, make him stray from a smothering, grinding game plan.

  • I'd be a bit nervous too having an H-bomb following me around the right thrown by a guy with a granite chin.

    • "right" should be "octagon"