Rashad Anton Evans (born September 25, 1979) is an American mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter from Lansing, Michigan, currently signed to the Ultimate Fighting Championship where he is a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. Evans won the heavyweight division of The Ultimate Fighter 2. He holds notable victories over Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin. Evans trains out of Albuquerque, New Mexico with Jackson’s Submission Fighting. Evans lost the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship by way of knockout to undefeated Lyoto Machida at UFC 98.

Early life

One of eight children, Evans was a two-time All-State wrestler at Niagara-Wheatfield High School in Sanborn, New York. He was also a two-way player on the school’s football team, playing running back when on offense and safety on defense.

After graduating from high school in 1998, Evans went on to attend Niagara County Community College, where he entered the wrestling program and won the National Junior College championship 165 lb (75 kg) in 2000. He then transferred to Michigan State University, competing in the 174 lb (79 kg) weight class. He started at Michigan State for three years and amassed a 48–34 record during that time. Evans was also one of only four people to ever defeat wrestling legend Greg Jones.[7] Since graduating from Michigan State and earning a degree in psychology, he has remained a resident of Lansing, Michigan. In 2005 he became an assistant coach for the Michigan State wrestling program.[8] On January 2nd, 2010 only hours before his fight with Thiago Silva he was awarded his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt by Rolles Gracie.

Mixed martial arts

Early career

In 2004, under the tutelage of veteran wrestler and MMA fighter Dan Severn,[10] Evans competed in five professional mixed martial arts fights, winning all five. This led to his selection as one of the nine heavyweights to compete on The Ultimate Fighter 2, a reality TV series on Spike. The season began airing on August 22, 2005, culminating in a live finale between the final two fighters of each weight division, held in Las Vegas, Nevada on November 5, 2005.

The Ultimate Fighter

At 5 feet 11 inches (1.80 m) and 225 pounds (102 kg), Evans was the shortest and the second-lightest of the nine heavyweight competitors. He was considered the underdog in each of his fights, but made it to the finals by defeating Tom Murphy, Mike Whitehead, and Keith Jardine all by decision. During his tenure on the show, Evans was criticized by opposing coach Matt Hughes for his showboating during fights, but the two eventually settled their differences, and Hughes even cornered Evans for his semifinal bout. In the finale, Evans defeated 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) Brad Imes by split decision, thus winning a three-year, six-figure contract with the UFC and a brand new car. After The Ultimate Fighter, Evans joined Greg Jackson’s Submission Fighting camp along with fellow competitor Keith Jardine, who would eventually become his training partner and good friend.

After the show

Evans dropped down to light heavyweight after the show, deciding he would have a better chance of success in a lower weight class. His first fight under the contract took place on April 6, 2006 against Sam Hoger, who had been a semi-finalist on The Ultimate Fighter

1. Evans defeated Hoger via split decision despite nearly falling victim to a kimura submission at the end of the second round.

Evans followed with a victory by majority decision over The Ultimate Fighter 1 finalist Stephan Bonnar on June 28, 2006. Evans maintained control throughout the fight with repeated take downs, including a number of slams in the center of the cage and went on to secure the victory. Three months later, Evans faced Jason Lambert at UFC 63. Lambert, riding an eight-fight win streak, was seen as Evans’s first real test at 205 pounds. Evans controlled the fight from early on, and knocked Lambert out with punches from the mount in the second round. It was his first stoppage victory in over two years.

Evans next headlined UFC Fight Night: Evans vs Salmon against UFC newcomer Sean Salmon, a highly decorated collegiate wrestler who held a 9–1 professional record. Though Salmon had won the first round by scoring two takedowns, Evans came back with a head kick knockout early in the second round. Salmon remained motionless for several minutes after the fight and was eventually carried out on a stretcher to a local hospital. The kick came to the surprise of many fans who had previously considered Evans a one-dimensional wrestler.

At UFC 73, Evans squared off against former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Tito Ortiz. The two competitors fought to a draw as all three judges scored the bout 28–28. Ortiz had won two out of three rounds on all scorecards, but was deducted a point for holding the cage fence to defend against a takedown by Evans. Immediately after the fight, Ortiz asked for a rematch. At a press conference following UFC 73, UFC President Dana White promised a rematch, but it never materialized. Instead, Evans made his debut as a headliner on a pay-per-view event at UFC 78 against fellow undefeated fighter and The Ultimate Fighter 3 winner Michael Bisping. After three close rounds, Evans came out on top on two of the judges’s scorecards, winning by split decision. This fight marked Bisping’s first loss and his final bout in the light heavyweight division. After his win over Bisping Evans drastically changed his fighting style; which he kept secret until his fight against UFC Legend Chuck Liddell.

Evans vs. Liddell

Entering the fight as a very heavy underdog, Evans shocked the world by knocking out former light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell in brutal fashion at UFC 88. Liddell threw an uppercut that Evans countered with an overhand right, landing flush. Liddell remained unconscious for several minutes before finally walking out of the cage under his own power. The knockout was awarded knockout of the year by Sherdog for 2008. Evans had previously been scheduled to face Liddell at UFC 85 as a replacement for the injured Mauricio Rua. When Liddell pulled out of the event due to an injured hamstring,[18] Evans was matched with James Irvin. When Irvin pulled out after breaking his foot, the fight was removed from the card altogether.[19] After the fight, UFC President Dana White confirmed in the post-event press conference that Evans’s next fight would be a title shot against newly crowned light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin at UFC 92.
Light heavyweight champion

On December 27, 2008 at UFC 92, Evans faced champion Forrest Griffin for the UFC light heavyweight belt. Griffin controlled most of the first two rounds with effective striking and low kicks. In the third round, however, Evans caught a low kick and countered with a straight right hand that dropped Griffin. Evans followed Griffin to the ground and eventually managed to finish the stunned champion with ground and pound. With the victory, Evans became the new UFC Light-Heavyweight Champion. It capped off a year in which Evans won Fighter of the Year honors from Sherdog.com.

Losing the title

Evans lost his first defense of the UFC Light-Heavyweight title via knockout to undefeated Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida. Rashad experienced a flurry of accurate punches by Machida, which resulted in his legs giving-way and him losing consciousness. Then, Rashad Evans went on to coach against Rampage Jackson in The Ultimate Fighter 10: Heavyweights. Evans was scheduled to fight Quinton “Rampage” Jackson on December 12, 2009 at UFC 107, but this has now been called off due to Jackson being cast for the A-Team movie.

The road back to the belt

Evans was scheduled to fight Thiago Silva in the main event of UFC 108 on January 2, 2010. Dana White was quoted as saying that if Evans could defeat Thiago Silva at UFC 108, then he would go on to face Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Evans confirmed that he received his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt that morning under Rolles Gracie during the Spike TV broadcast of the UFC 108 preliminary card. Evans would go on to defeat Thiago Silva – another BJJ black belt – by unanimous decision. Deviating from his usual standing and striking, Evans displayed his grappling skills with numerous takedowns that frustrated Silva throughout the match. In the third round, after severely mocking his opponents fighting style with various taunts, Silva connected with a flurry of punches that dropped Evans, however he wasn’t able to finish the fight.

Evans was expected to finally face Quinton Jackson at UFC 113, but the long awaited bout is now expected to take place on May 29, 2010 at UFC 114.

Personal life

Evans and his wife have one son, Rashad Jr, and a daughter, Nia. He also has a daughter, Tahja, from a previous relationship. Evans’s brother Lance made a brief appearance on The Ultimate Fighter: Team Nogueira vs Team Mir, but was eliminated by Vinicius Magalhaes due to a rib injury and did not join the cast.

Rashad has appeared in a Microsoft commercial, where he says the lines, “You got a problem with that!” and “I’m a PC!”, while sparring with an unidentified opponent.
Championships and awards

Gladiator Challenge

GC Light Heavyweight Tournament Winner

Ultimate Fighting Championship

UFC Light Heavyweight Championship (Former)
The Ultimate Fighter 2 Heavyweight Tournament Winner
Two time Knockout of the Night Honors
Fight of the Night Honors

Sherdog

2008 Fighter of the Year
2008 Knockout of the Year against Chuck Liddell

Mixed martial arts record

The UFC counts two amateur bouts in the The Dangerzone MMA promotion as well as Evans three victories in season two of the Ultimate Fighter. Therefore the UFC state that Rashad’s record is currently 19-1-1, however although season two of the Ultimate Fighter was the only season where all fights were three five-minute rounds the N.S.A.C. has instructed record keepers that all fights on the Ultimate Fighter are considered exhibition matches. Therefore Rashad’s official MMA record is currently 14-1-1.