UFC 161: Rashad Evans Hoping to “Shut All The Naysayers Up” Versus Dan Henderson
Former Champ Concedes He Let Himself Down at UFC 156
By Kelsey Mowatt
Although Rashad Evans is nearly ten year years younger than Dan Henderson, and likely still has a considerable amount of time left to compete, one could make the argument he has more to lose in their UFC 161 tilt Saturday. While Henderson is hoping to score an impressive win and reposition himself for a title shot, the 42 year-old is winding down a legendary career. Evans, on the other hand, is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, which prompted some critics to question what the future holds for the 33 year-old, former champ.
“You definitely want to get the monkey off your back when you stink out the joint,” Evans said during a recent media call to promote the June 15th, UFC 161 card. “As a fighter, it sucks, because you wear the hat of the last fight you fought, until you fight another one…If you lose your last fight you suck for a while until you go out there and win your next fight.”
“That’s something you have to deal with as a fighter,” the former TUF winner added. “I want to go out there and put on a show, not only do just shut all the naysayers up but for myself. I felt like I let myself down more than anything. I can live with disappointing nearly anybody else but I can’t live with disappointing myself.”
While there’s no doubt that Nogueira is one of the sport’s top light-heavyweights, thanks to his outstanding boxing and jiu-jitsu skills, many observers believed Evans was a bad match-up for the accomplished fighter. That last two men to defeat Nogueira are Phil Davis and Ryan Bader, both of whom utilized their wrestling abilities, in part, to score decision wins. Of course, anyone who has monitored the career of Evans, knows that his wrestling game has also played a big role in his success to date.
“Well the first thing is that I’ve addressed the issues as far as where I thought I went wrong,” said Evans, who continues to train with the renowned Blackzilians team in Florida. “But for the most part you almost have to have a short memory on that kind of thing, because if you dwell on it for too long, it can definitely hit you again.”
“I know how to perform,” added Evans, who worked his way into a title fight with Jon Jones last April by winning four straight, but lost by UD to the champion. “I know how to fight to the best of my abilities; it’s just a matter of going out there and doing it. Second guessing myself is not going to get me any closer to fighting to the best of my capabilities, so, I’ve learned from that performance and I’m ready to move on, and put on the fight I know I can put on. Put on the fight that I trained for.”
A one sided and impressive win over Henderson would certainly go a long way in re-establishing Evans as a top contender. When asked about his title shot aspirations during the call, however, Evans offered this:
“You know, I’m not really, the whole title shot thing, it’s not on my mind,” the decorated fighter said. “I just want to go in there and fight, and whatever happens after that, happens after that, but honestly I don’t care.”
UFC 161 will be hosted by the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and the main card will be available via pay-per-view.