Rashad Evans was under a lot of pressure in the lead up to his UFC 161 bout with Dan Henderson, mainly due to his lackluster performance against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in his previous outing. Many fans were starting to think that “Suga” had lost his touch, and would soon drop out of the top flight.
Evans himself spoke to MMAFighting.com to clarify what his mind state was coming off of two straight losses:
“It's something, I've got to cross it every day. I've got to remember, okay, this is why I'm doing it," Evans said. "See, the biggest part, what happened to me before, is the fact that I forgot why I was doing it. I didn't enjoy it anymore. I was to the point where I was just going through the motions. I didn't enjoy the process, because it's all about the process. You've got to really dig deep and you've got to really love every single thing about the game.”
Evans is a former TUF winner and UFC Light Heavyweight champion; his accomplishments in MMA are genuinely impressive. Past accomplishments will get you nowhere without the drive to attain more, something that Evans knows only too well.
"The grind, the grind is where it's at. So I gotta fall in love with that grind again. And that grind is what brings that dog out. Because when I'm out there and I'm doing that extra work, when I'm hitting that bag and I'm making myself go until I can't go no more, until I want to pass out because I'm so dizzy with exhaustion, when I do that, I know somebody has to pay for that. So when I'm on and when my mindset is going like that, on fight night it becomes easy, being I've been breeding that dog all through training camp. On fight night I get to let it out."
It has been a long time since we saw the Evans that tore Forrest Griffin apart, knocked Chuck Liddell’s beard off and dispatched of Tito Ortiz. He will have his hands full with facing a renewed Chael Sonnen, although I would say that Rashad at one hundred percent is so much more dangerous than Sonnen.
For starters; Evans’ striking is very unique and has a lot of KO power to boot. His 33% KO ratio does not do justice to the power that he possesses. Also I think people forget that “Suga” was unbeaten for the first five years as a pro, only suffering his first loss when he lost his title to Machida in 2009 and his third overall after the Nogueira fight. The kid has a ton of talent.
Sonnen is a different beast, a fight anyone, anywhere kind of guy; Great for your bosses, but not so great for your record. He really is the wildcard in this match, and if he can pull off the win; get ready for Chael P’s fourth title shot in the UFC.