The UFC Hall of Fame just got quite a bit sweeter with Rashad Evans as the latest inductee.
The world’s leading mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion revealed at tonight’s (Sat., May 18, 2019) UFC Rochester from his home state of New York that former light heavyweight champion ‘Suga’ was headed to the hall this summer:
The all-time great was understandably emotional as the crowd gave him a standing ovation:
Evans’ Impressive Body Of Work
Evans rose to prominence way back on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 2. Despite being the shortest and second-lightest of the heavyweights on the show, he won the contract. He was an underdog in each of his four fights to do so.
From there, Evans dropped down to light heavyweight and went unbeaten in eight straights bouts, with one draw against Tito Ortiz. He won the 205-pound belt from Forrest Griffin at UFC 92 in late 2008. Evans was knocked out in his now-infamous bout with Lyoto Machida in the following fight.
‘Suga’ won four more fights in a row over Thiago Silva, Rampage Jackson, Ortiz, and Phil Davis. The run earned him his final UFC title shot as a result. At 2012’s UFC 145, he faced former training partner-turned-rival Jon Jones in a heated grudge match. ‘Bones’ outlasted Evans in a clear unanimous decision.
After losing to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in his next fight, Evans secured two straight wins over some true greats in Dan Henderson and Chael Sonnen. He was then set to face Daniel Cormier. However, injuries took their toll on his career. A torn ACL forced him to the sidelines for two years. When he returned, Evans just wasn’t the same, losing five straight bouts before calling it a career.
While the tail end of his career was tough, Evans should and always will be remembered as an unsung hero of the ‘modern’ era of MMA. He could always be counted on for a strong number of pay-per-view (PPV) buys, which, by today’s lowered standards, would be huge numbers.
His historic rivalries with Jackson and Jones were two of the most anticipated in the sport at their respective times. His knockout over Chuck Liddell in September 2008 will also go down as one of the most devastating in UFC history.
We salute you ‘Suga’ Rashad Evans, and hope you enjoy your well-deserved spot in the UFC Hall of Fame.