Rashad Out Of Retirement
5 straight losses won’t stop ‘Suga’ from fighting again. The former UFC Champion is coming out of retirement for his first fight since 2018. Evans will be taking on submission specialist Gabriel Checco at Eagle FC 44 on January 28th.
As expected, not everybody approves of the 42 year-old returning to pro competition. Evans’ last win would come nearly 10 years ago. He is also 2-5 in his last 7 bouts. Evans would eventually come to terms with retirement back in 2018, where he was brutally knocked out by Anthony Smith.
However, after some good time away from the Octagon, Evans is fighting the itch to come back. The itch would of course win, prompting his comeback fight.
While there is much criticism from fans wanting Evans to retire, there is no hate from his former foe, Anthony Smith. ‘Lionheart’ who ended up retiring Rashad, is happy about his decision. But there is one problem to that, as Smith is a bit upset with something else.
“I’m a little upset with Rashad right now, to be honest with you,” Smith told MiddleEasy. “He was supposed to work the desk with me this weekend and cause he’s got this… he’s a big time fighter again. He’s not working the desk with me anymore cause he’s training for this fight. So I have been giving him a bunch of sh*t about it for the last couple of days.”
Smith Is Happy For Evans
Don’t let this fool you though, Smith is just joking around. All in all, the UFC Light Heavyweight has good thoughts for Evans, even at the resurrected tail-end of his career. To Smith, Evan isn’t just a former foe, he’s now a mentor and friend.
“I’m really happy for him, man. He seems to be in a much better place than when him and I fought. He just seems like a different person. I’ve been very vocal about Rashad kind of mentoring me, not in just the broadcasting sense of it, but just in life.
“I always know if I got a problem just in life in general, I need someone to talk to. Typically, Rashad is the first person that pops in my head because he’s just so experienced in life. He’s been through it all. He’s had his ups and downs. He’s been the world champion. He’s been the guy on a losing streak. He has business advice and in relationships and kids. He’s like my little secret weapon. I always know that when I spent time with Rashad, whether it be on the phone or in person, I’m going to leave that experience with, with something really positive and I’m going to feel a lot better about myself and what I have going moving forward.”
Scratching The Itch
When Evans steps into the cage again, it will likely not be a cakewalk. He will be battling it out with Gabriel Checco, who’s no can. Checco is 12-5 in MMA and is notably known for his work on the grappling scene. ‘Zangief’ has submitted the likes of Jake Ellenberger and Austin Vanderford.
He also has faced BJJ superstars Gordon Ryan and Craig Jones on the mat. He’ll be no easy test for Evans, who on top of that, hasn’t fought since 2018.
Anthony Smith hopes nothing bad happens from the booking at Eagle FC 44.
“I just really hope that this doesn’t turn out to be a negative experience for him.” Smith continued. “Rashad seems to be much happier retired, than he was competing. He’s freer. He was just seemed like a happier person [in retirement] and I don’t want him to lose that. I want to keep the same Rashad I got right now. I just hope that the experience goes great for him.
“He seems to be having a lot of fun. He seems to be enjoying it. I think he’s doing it for the right reasons. He doesn’t need to fight, obviously. Nice paychecks are nice, but he doesn’t need it. So it seems like he’s doing it very much because he just wants to. He still has some competitive itches he needs to scratch still. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hope he just goes out there and just starches someone, feels good and sits back down.”