Chuck Liddell. Gary Goodridge. Rich Franklin. Big Nog.
All of these names come to mind, when you think of fighters who might have been a little too stubborn for their own good; clinging to their competitive spirit a little too long, most combat athletes fail to retire while on top of their game, opting to compete past their prime – sometimes with disastrous outcomes.
Rashad Evans is hoping to not make that mistake. He’s hoping that he will be wise enough to retire from MMA, before MMA retires him.
At 34 years of age, the former light heavyweight champion isn’t sure how much longer he will remain in the fight game. But one thing he is sure of, after his lethargic battle with Antonio Rogerio Nogueria at UFC 156, is his rediscovery of his hunger in fighting. Before that bout he was open and honest about the fact that he was simply going through the motions. But as long as he has his desire – his hunger – back, he doesn’t want to put a timeframe on how long he plans to compete.
“I ask myself that all the time,” he said. “I was in a place in my career where it just wasn’t fun for me anymore. I made it through that rough patch, because after you’ve seen everything, seen behind the curtain of Oz, it kind of changes the way you feel about it. By that I mean, you see how the whole system works, you see the politics in it, and to not be bogged down by the politics of the sport and still keeping your competitive nature, it was hard for me at first.”
“But now, I’ve got a different mindset when it comes to competing. I’ve got a different mindset when it comes to just dealing with the politics of the sport and everything else. It’s helped me get a different appreciation for it. I want to keep on fighting as long as my body allows me to. As long as God gives me the ability to keep on fighting.”
Evans pointed to his Blackzilians teammate Vitor Belfort as an example. At 36 years of age, Vitor is enjoying a new-found success in the sport, and Rashad credits “The Phenom”‘s mindset as the catalyst in his resurgence, which helped provide him the cues to get out of the funk he was in.
“I want to be able to retire before the sport retires me,” he said. “But at the same time, I don’t want to leave the sport until I’m competitively satisfied.”
Hopefully for Evans, he finds that satisfaction in time.
Tags: antonio rogerio nogueira, Big Nog, blackzilians, Chael Sonnen, Chuck Liddell, evans vs sonnen, gary goodridge, Rashad Evans, rashad evans lil nog, Rich Franklin, suga rashad evans, The Phenom, ufc, UFC 167, ufc news, Vitor Belfort