It’s already a difficult task to fight the best of the best in the light-heavyweight division of the UFC. Add in the reality and distraction of having a heavy heart from personal problems like a divorce and being away from your children.
That can take a considerable toll on anyone, let alone a fighter trying to earn his way back to a title shot.
Rashad Evans heads into his UFC 161 showdown against Dan Henderson having lost his last two fights. During his last fight, a loss to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Evans simply did not look like Evans. In a recent interview with SiriusXM’s Tapout Radio, he opened up about a lot of the personal strife that has been affecting him.
“I made a lot of mistakes,” Evans admitted. “The thing that haunts me more than anything is the fact that I can’t go back, and I’m going to half to live with what happened and live with being away from my kids. It’s sad because I worked so hard to be able to provide for my kids and give them a better life than I ever had for myself but I can’t give them the one thing which they really need more than anything and that’s me.”
The Blackzilian-team member explained that “it’s a daily struggle,” dealing with the divorce and being away from his children. It was something that he had to “find a way to get past.” He is moving on with his life, but he would love to be able to rectify the situation if given the opportunity. “If I ever get a chance to make things right and be able to be around them more, then that’s what I’m going to do.”
Evans explained that in life “you can only move forward and you can only work with what you have. “That’s what I’m doing now,” he said. “I’m finding a way to work with what I have and try to find a way to be the best that I can be.”
The current No.6-ranked UFC light heavyweight was once at the top of the UFC light heavyweight division. Since losing the belt to Lyoto Machida, he has only had one title shot in the last four years—losing to Jon Jones at UFC 145. His other opportunity was lost due to a knee injury. A loss to Henderson and he might not get another.
The 33-year-old is aware his MMA career is mortal.
“Before you know it, this whole ride can be over,” said Evans. “I grew up so poor and now I have an opportunity to provide for my family in a way that I never imagined. I take that in consideration and try to exploit every single opportunity because when it’s over it’s over, there are no redos.”
Evans would probably have loved to have redone a lot of things after losing his last two fights. He wasn’t able to do what he does best or showcase what made him one of the best fighters in his respected division. He seemed tentative engaging with strikes and attempting takedowns, successfully landing only two in both fights combined.
There is a lot at stake for Evans against Henderson. Hopefully, for his sake, he will find a way to avoid any outside distraction, as he is facing a must-win fight if he wants to stay relevant in the 205-pound division.
Michael Stets is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report