“Suga” Rashad Evans Announces Retirement After 13 Year MMA Career
Winner of The Ultimate Fighter 2, Rashad Evans announced retirement from MMA after an impressive 13-year career. Evans also defeated Forrest Griffin to capture the UFC light heavyweight championship during 2008.
Sporting a 24-8-1 record, the 38-year-old Evans holds a very impressive professional resume. His time in the UFC included two “Fight of the Night” bonuses to go along with two “Knockout of the Night” bonuses. Although his last five fights didn’t exactly go as planned, the early days of Rashad Evans garnered the respect of UFC fans and fighters alike.
“Suga” Rashad Evans broke into the UFC during 2004. In 2005, he defeated Brad Imes to claim the title of “The Ultimate Fighter” during the show’s second season. During TUF 2, Evans was the shortest, and lightest, of all competitors. After Evans’ victory against Imes, he rattled off four more wins against Sam Hoger, Stephan Bonnar, Jason Lambert and Sean Salmon. Evans kept his perfect record intact into 2007 before a draw against Tito Ortiz at UFC 73 left him unbeaten, but his record slightly blemished.
After the draw with Ortiz, Evans continued to terrorize the UFC’s light heavyweight division, beating Michael Bisping by split decision at UFC 78. Evans followed the performance by knocking out Chuck Liddell at UFC 88. Oddly enough, Ortiz and Liddell will fight for a third time soon in a battle of “grumpy old men.” Irony at its finest.
After knocking out Liddell, Evans got a title shot against Forrest Griffin for the light heavyweight championship. Evans went to work in the third round. A vicious ground and pound from Evans left Griffin covering up, and subsequently handing over the light heavyweight title to Evans.
The light heavyweight title was short lived for Evans as he lost his first title defense opportunity against Lyoto Machida at UFC 98. Evans refused to stay down, however, and again went on a torrid winning streak. “Suga” beat Thiago Silva at UFC 108, Rampage Jackson (or is it B.A. Baracus?) at UFC 114 — both by unanimous decision. Evans then stepped into a rematch with Tito Ortiz at UFC 133, tying up any loose ends he may have left in the draw. Evans knocked Ortiz out in the second round.
After the victory against Ortiz, Evans enjoyed a unanimous decision victory against Phil Davis. He then challenged Jon Jones to a title fight and lost via unanimous decision at UFC 145 to a fighter many still argue is the “greatest of all time.” Another loss came at the hands of Antonio Rogerio Nogueira before Evans would get back on track at UFC 161 with a split decision victory over Dan Henderson. Evans followed the victory with an impressive knockout of Chael Sonnen in November of 2013.
Rashad Evans Announces Retirement
As fate would have it, the knockout of Chael Sonnen would be the final UFC victory of Evans impressive career. “Suga” entered his match-up with Anthony Smith at UFC 225 on a four-fight losing streak. After the loss to Smith just over a month ago, Evans hung up his gloves for the final time.
After his sparkling 13-year career, Evans is undoubtedly in consideration for the UFC Hall of Fame. There are few capable of sustaining a 14-year run in MMA, which included a championship belt and multiple championship fights.
Probably most impressive however, are the victories Evans secured against against four current UFC Hall of Famers (Liddell, Ortiz, Bonnar, and Griffin). His blast of Liddell knocked the slightly-mohawked bruiser all the way into an episode of Entourage.
While Liddell may be no match for Johnny Drama, Evans has most definitely been a handful in the octagon against some of MMA’s best. When the roll is called at the UFC Hall of Fame, there’s no doubt Evans deserves a long look and, in many people’s eyes, a golden ticket to enter.