Rashad Evans on UFC in NY & Moving to Middleweight

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UFC Makes it to the ‘Big Apple’

As a Western New Yorker, and Niagara native, Rashad Evans looks forward to the UFC finally coming to New York. As the only place in North America where MMA had remained illegal, legislation has finally legalized the world’s fastest growing sport. The UFC will hold it’s inaugural NY event at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 12. This is the first such event to take place with the states borders in nearly 20 years.

As for Evans, he plans to be a part of the milestone event. “I really want to. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, and praying I can get on the Madison Square Garden card. To fight there would be epic for me.”

Because New York only just now legalized MMA, Evans hasn’t had a chance to showcase his skills in front of his hometown crowd. At (19-5) Rashad has been a pivotal player his nearly the early days of the UFC. He won TUF Season 2 as a Heavyweight, and moved on to become Champion of the World as a Light-Heavyweight. “Western New York, I don’t think they really had a chance to follow my progression, because it wasn’t legalized in NY. [I wasn’t] able to fight in Buffalo…”

Moving forward, the UFC plans to make its way to New York multiple times each year. The organization has expressed its interests in holding events not only in NYC, but Buffalo as well.

The Future and Beyond

After losing his last fight to Glover Teixeira, fans wondered what might be next for Rashad Evans. The long-time Light-Heavyweight contender, and former World Champion, has accomplished just about all there is to accomplish in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts – might he consider retirement?

Presently, Evans ranks as the #8 contender in the Light Heavyweight Division, and turns 37 years young this year. He’s had to overcome a series of serious knee injuries over the course of the past few years, but looks to have finally recovered.

“Here’s the thing about fighting, or anything in life.” he says, “The good and the bad they’re basically the same. They both have their place. For me, I learned the most when I’ve struggled, when I’ve lost. I’ve learned the most from my setbacks. It’s something that people never talk about. Every single one of my losses has supplied me with a different lesson.”

A Lasting Legacy

The competitive landscape is ripe with opportunity for Evans. He has worked his way into the television landscape as an analyst, which only adds to his options. “I really like to do analyst work. It’s something that’s challenging and something where I’m going to be when I can’t fight any longer.”

Though you can see him on television during ESPN’s MMA Live and Fox’s UFC Tonight, Evans won’t be retiring from combat sports just yet. As a fighter, he still has plenty left in the tank. “My biggest goal is to be able to go out and compete. To have fun until it’s over”

As an added facet to the story, Rashad Evans may not stay in the Light-Heavyweight Division forever. “I’m gonna drop down to 185 and see what they have to offer down there. And just keep going from there. As long as I can.” It will be exciting for UFC fans to see what happens when ‘Suga’ finally does make the jump.

At the end of the day Rashad sums things up well, “Never give up on what you truly want.”

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