Former UFC light heavyweight champion “Suga” Rashad Evans has been out of competition since he scored a dominant first round win over Chael Sonnen back at UFC 167 in 2013. He was supposed to take on top contender Daniel Cormier at UFC 170 in February 2014, but he suffered a knee injury which has been nagging ever since.
Evans was finally scheduled to make his long-awaited return in a few weeks on February 22, 2015 at UFC Fight Night 61 against former title challenger Glover Teixeira, but this time Teixeira was forced out of the bout and Evans was taken off of the card completely. However, this may be for the better as Dana White announced at the UFC 183 post-fight press conference that “Suga” was hurt yet again.
Now with that fight off the table, Evans has decided it is time to finally take care of his lingering knee issue and fix the problem for good. He appeared on Monday’s (February 2, 2015) edition of the MMA Hour to discuss the issue:
“I have to heal up a little bit,” Evans said. “I had to get some things cleaned out in my knee, I’m going to take my time getting it all healed up.”
The former champion even went as far to admit that he shouldn’t have accepted that Teixeira fight, and that he wasn’t fully healthy when he did so:
“The time that I had off and not being on at that level, to jump right back into it, kind of aggravated my knee a little bit,” Evans said. “I just need to make sure I just take my time with it and truly build up to strength. I was maybe trying to cheat the system a little bit and maybe go, and not fully do the rehab to where I was fully strong and fully where I needed to be before I go back out there and compete.”
As for a timetable for return, Evans shouldn’t be out too long, but he also doesn’t want to a put a date on it either. The Blackzilians product said he wants to take his time and really make sure his knee is set to go:
“They say I should be fine in a couple months,” Evans said. “But I’m gonna really take my time and see when. I want to get my leg strong I want to be back where I used to be. The right one was skinnier than the left one and it just wasn’t feeling right, so I just want to really build it up.”
“Suga” has been in the fight game for quite some time now, and at the age of 35 its unclear how much longer he’ll be around. According to Evan’s, this makes it even more important that he is 100% healthy and doesn’t rush back into things:
“I want to go out there and compete with this guys,” he said.”But I want to make sure I go out there and bring me. I don’t want to go out half cocked. People don’t want to hear that crap. If you go out there and you don’t look good, ‘hey, you need to retire,’ that’s what people are talking about, and I don’t want no one saying that about me.”
Despite getting up there in age, Evans is still floating around the top of the division, currently sitting at No. 4 in the 205 pound rankings. Once healthy, does the former champion have one more title run left in him?