Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC
When Rashad Evans walked onto the set of The Ultimate Fighter in August 2005 he weighed about 225 pounds. This made him the second-lightest contestant among the nine heavyweight fighters vying for a UFC contract that season, but Evans, who not two years earlier had wrestled in college at 174 pounds, somehow managed to overcome his physical deficiencies and beat all comers that year, even those who outweighed him by 40 pounds. Still, as soon as he officially entered the UFC he wisely dropped down to the 205-pound division, knowing that in any fighting situation outside reality television, size is destiny. One can only pretend to be a heavyweight for so long if one wants to keep one’s head on one’s shoulders and one’s brains in one’s head.
Eleven years later Rashad Evans feels as firmly established a part of the UFC firmament as the Octagon itself: one of those figures who’s always been there. But the cruel reality of MMA is that it’s an unforgiving mistress. And when the decline of the human body starts after a decade of repeated and constant devastation it doesn’t stop. There’s no turning around; there’s no getting it back. There’s only adapting and adjusting and resignation. Evans is now 36-years-old and for the first time in his long career in the midst of a losing streak. Two straight losses and four losses out of six should be enough for any man or woman pushing middle age to contemplate his or her place in the world. And with the inevitable slowing of the body no one would criticize Rashad Evans if he decided to make a late-career move back to the heavyweight division, where it all started for him, back to a place where, even at 36, he might still ….View full article