Dominick Cruz Says Layoff Won’t Affect Rashad Evans’ Tools & Experience

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Former UFC light heavyweight champion “Suga” Rashad Evans is finally set to make his long-awaited return to action when he takes on the surging Ryan Bader in the co-main event of tonight’s (October 3, 2015) UFC 192 from Houston, Texas.

Evans has been sidelined for nearly two years dealing with multiple knee injuries, and setbacks, leading many to wonder what he’ll look like in the cage tonight. One man who may know how Evans feels is former bantamweight king Dominick Cruz, who has competed just twice over the last four years due to numerous leg and knee injuries.

“The Dominator” was stripped of his title in 2014 when he couldn’t stay healthy, and he will finally try to earn it back when he meets current champion TJ Dillashaw on January 17, 2016 in the main event of UFC Fight Night 81.

Speaking on Evans, however, Cruz said that the layoff may actually benefit him, and that “Suga” still carries all of his tools, and experience into the Octagon:

“The time off absolutely will benefit especially a guy like Rashad,” Cruz told MMA Fighting this week. “Rashad has got the knowledge, he’s got the tools, he’s got the ringmanship. He understands all that. That is experience. That he carries in there with him. That doesn’t go away. That’s the missing link for him that makes it feasible for him to come back at his age and put on a great performance.”

Cruz did say that a fighter’s cardio is probably most affected by a long layoff, noting that it has to be built back up after being away:

“I’d have to say probably the number one thing that’s affected after these surgeries is your gas tank, your body chemistry,” Cruz said. “It’s always a new thing any time you’re off for a year or more, it’s a new feeling out process for your body. You have to relearn how your body is working because of that lay off. You have to rebuild it.”

As far as Bader goes, it seems as if anytime he’s gotten to a top contender bout in the past he’s struggled, but he is riding quite the win streak. Cruz pointed out Bader’s last win over Phil Davis as one of his most impressive:

“I’d have to say probably the number one thing that’s affected after these surgeries is your gas tank, your body chemistry,” Cruz said. “It’s always a new thing any time you’re off for a year or more, it’s a new feeling out process for your body. You have to relearn how your body is working because of that lay off. You have to rebuild it.”

At the end of the day, “The Dominator” feels as if the time away will be something positive for Evans, as the former bantamweight champ stressed the toughness of going through training camps:

“The way I see it is that Rashad has some time off at an older age, which is probably better for his body,” Cruz said. “The older you get, fighting three fights a year, to me, is a lot more difficult. Like I try to explain to everybody. It’s not the fight that bothers you. It’s these camps. The camps are vicious. People don’t even know how vicious these camps are.”

Do you see Evans getting by Bader in his return?

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