Sparsely Sprinkled “Suga”: The Sweet Career of Rashad Evans Is Often Overlooked By Fans

By Raphael Garcia

In the world of sports it is so easy to forget how good some athletes were during long stretches of their careers. This is especially true after a champion loses his or her title. Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Rashad Evans is in such a position. As he heads into his co-main event bout against the eloquent speaker that is Chael Sonnen, it’s almost striking how much fans of the sport have forgotten how great of a fighter Evans has been throughout his career.

At 18-3-1, Evans is widely considered one of the best fighters to come out of the reality show The Ultimate Fighter. Throughout his UFC career, he’s tasted more success than defeat. Compared to other athletes that have stuck around after their stints on the reality show, Evans record still ranks as the best.

However, Evans is still beset by the missteps in his career. After his defeat to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in February at UFC 156, many people called for the 34 year old to consider retirement because it seemed like the sport didn’t interest him in the same fashion. And although he bounced back at UFC 161 againat Dan Henderson, the questions about his motivation and dedication still lingered.

One of the more interesting points about Evans’ career is that he has been relatively less active than other UFC competitors who aren’t champions. His fight at UFC 167 will represent the first time he has competed three times in one year since 2007. That has played to his benefit because despite the defeats he has suffered, Evans has been considered a top 5 light heavyweight for over five years. Since his draw against Tito Ortiz at UFC 73 in July 2007, he’s defeated a host of light heavyweights that are recognized as some of the best within the sport.

In doing so, Evans has transitioned from being just a wrestler to becoming a more well-rounded mixed martial artist. He’s changed his style since being knocked out by Lyoto Machida back in 2009. Instead of enganging in multiple exchanges with his opponents, Evans has implemented a more strategic fighting style that is based around staying on the outside and scoring with a few shots before landing a takedown. This style plays into the “boring” label that is often thrown around in MMA today, but that label is a testament to the fact that Evans is and always was a very smart fighter who looks at the sport differently than others. That hasn’t garnered many fans for the former Greg Jackson fighter, but it has allowed him to have a degree of longevity within the sport.

The debate around who should be considered all-time greats within specific weight classes will always be a source of ample opinion. However, it is clear that Rashad Evans’ performance in eight years of Octagon competition demands that he should be considered one of the top names in light heavyweight. history.


UFC 167: St. Pierre vs. Hendricks is due to take place on November 16, 2013 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Click the stars to rate how good you think UFC 167 will be.

What Do You Think of This Fight/Event?