Evans can't afford another loss
March, 27, 2013
By Franklin McNeil
Once in a while it is necessary to set the record straight.
That moment has arrived as it relates to a comment made by former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans about his upcoming bout against Dan Henderson. The two are scheduled to meet June 15 at UFC 161 in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
“Despite dropping his past two outings -- he looked sluggish en route to a unanimous-decision setback Feb. 2 Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 156 -- Evans is expecting a victory against Henderson.
In the fight business, you're only as good as your next fight. If you lose two or three then you're done.” -- Rashad Evans
But in the past few days, some MMA blogs have questioned the level of Evans’ confidence based on a remark he made to ESPN.com nearly two weeks ago.
“This is the type of fight that keeps you up at night, because you want to do well,” Evans said, referring to his bout against Henderson. “My back is against the wall. And that is when I perform at my best.
“In the fight business, you’re only as good as your next fight. If you lose two or three then you’re done.
“My manager Bill Robinson always says, ‘You’re either one fight away from getting a title shot and becoming champion or you’re two losses away from being cut from UFC.’ ”
Robinson makes a good point and Evans understands the business aspect of mixed martial arts. But Evans is a high-level professional athlete who expects to defeat every man he competes against in the cage.
When he talks about losing two or three fights "then you’re done," Evans is referring to being a serious title contender.
Evans still believes he can compete for and win the UFC light heavyweight title. But he is very aware that with two losses in a row heading into this next fight, another defeat will significantly hinder his chances of fighting for the belt again.
As for fearing that a loss to Henderson will result in being released by UFC: Evans laughed at the suggestion when contacted by ESPN.com on Wednesday.
“No. Not at all,” Evans responded. “That some media would come to that conclusion is funny to me. I’m going to win [on June 15.]”
Fighting Henderson has never been a concern for Evans. The only issue he’s had to battle the past two years is his recent divorce and not seeing his children as often as he would like.
The emotions of the situation took a toll on Evans. But he is having arguably his best camp in recent memory.
Evans is in a good place training-wise right now -- mentally, emotionally and physically.
That wasn’t the case in his previous three training camps. Evans is eager to step in the cage against Henderson and prove that he remains a force to be reckoned with at 205 pounds.