Former UFC light heavyweight champion and The Ultimate Fighter season 2 winner Rashad Evans announced his retirement from MMA.
Evans, now 38 years old, broke the news on “Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show,” ESPN’s newly-minted weekly programme.
“Suga” last fought at UFC 225 in Chicago, suffering a first-round knockout loss to Anthony Smith in June.
“I’m gonna retire,” Evans told Helwani [H/T MMA Fighting]. “There’s just so much that goes into it all, but at one point in my life I felt as if fighting was everything. It was everything. I put life second, but now life is taking over and now fighting has become second. Competing in a sport like mixed martial arts where you have a lot of guys who haven’t been to the top of the mountain and haven’t experienced it the things that I’ve experienced, they’re really hungry for it.
“Me, I was just lukewarm. I’ve been through a lot in this sport. I’ve fought a lot of fights and I don’t look at the sport the same way.”
Win or lose, Evans sensed that walk to the cage would be his last at UFC 225, though he was battling some self-denial.
“I kinda felt it was it. I always said to myself when it’s time, I’ll know. And I always prayed that I would know when it’s time and when I walked out, I knew. I knew. It took me weeks to really admit it to myself.”
That loss against Smith signalled Evans’ fifth loss on the bounce. Overall, Evans’ UFC run saw him win 14 times, draw once, and lose eight.
Evans’ undoubted career highlight was when he scored a third-round TKO win over Forrest Griffin to win the UFC light heavyweight championship. In the UFC, Evans defeated the likes of Michael Bisping, Dan Henderson, Tito Ortiz, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Chuck Liddell, Phil Davis and Chael Sonnen.
Evans did attempt to revive his UFC career as a middleweight in 2017, but suffered consecutive split decisions to Daniel Kelly and Sam Alvey to go 0-2 at 185 lbs.