Rashad Evans: ‘I Didn’t Feel I Could Compete at My Best Level’ at 185 Pounds

Rashad Evans discusses his decision to move back to light heavyweight

Rashad Evans still has some fights left on him but he’s returning to the light heavyweight division to do it.

A former 205-pound champion, Evans decided to make the move down to middleweight in 2016 but found little success after dropping back-to-back split decisions this year against Daniel Kelly and Sam Alvey.

Like every fighter who moves down a division in the UFC, Evans hoped to find success by facing opponents who would be at least similar in size versus some of the bigger competition at light heavyweight.

“It’s always a tough position when you drop a weight class. You drop a weight class and you have to have it be successful or you’re hoping that it is successful,” Evans said recently. “You want to go in there and you want to make it a pretty successful transition. But at the same time, it’s not guaranteed.

“That’s just the gamble in it all.”

Just recently, Evans decided to return to the light heavyweight division where he’s had the most success during his entire UFC career that started back during “The Ultimate Fighter” season two.

Evans doesn’t regret the move down to middleweight but after two heartbreaking losses, he realized he just wasn’t able to perform the way he wanted while competing at 185 pounds.

“From my point of view, I went down to 185 [pounds], I lost two close fights but at the end of the day, I didn’t feel like I could compete to my best level at that weight class,” Evans said.

Now Evans is already plotting his return to action at 205 pounds when he fights again in 2018.

The former UFC champion knows the time he has left in the sport is far less than what he’s already put into it so he just wants to go out and compete with the best fighters of the world while enjoying himself doing it.

Part of that pleasure is not killing himself to cut down to a lower weight class when he was once the best in the world at light heavyweight so Evans is going back to the division where he was a top five fighter for most of his career.

And he’s going to have fun doing it.

“I was thinking about this, I’m 38 years old. I’m closer to the end than to the beginning. I’m like if I’m going to continue to compete, let me enjoy myself,” Evans said. “Let me eat. Let me just enjoy myself competing.

“And part of just enjoying myself competing was not cutting 20 pounds.”

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.