Former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans announced his retirement on Monday.
Evans has struggled to regain his foothold in the UFC ever since failing to recapture the 205-pound title from Jon Jones in 2012. He’s recently been on a career-worst five-fight losing skid, which led to him announcing his retirement on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on ESPN.
“It’s hard. I don’t want to go out losing, or nothing like that, but at the same time, it’s what I need. It’s what I need to do because I feel like I have other things in life that are calling me to go, too,” Evans said.
“I thought how hard it would be for me to really say these words or really make a statement about it, but I needed to. It’s part of me healing and just accepting the what is. I can’t fool myself any longer about it.”
Evans has been trying to right the ship in the middleweight division, but once again fell short recently at UFC 225, where Anthony Smith knocked him out less than a minute into the opening round of their fight.
Though it took him some time to come to the decision to finally hang up his gloves, Evans was adamant that he won’t waffle on his decision.
“I can say for certainty that I won’t fight again. I feel like there’s other things in life I want to do. I know there’s other things in life I want to do,” he said.
“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 fighting is becoming second. Competing in a sport like MMA, where you have a lot of guys who haven’t been to the top of the mountain, who haven’t experienced the things I’ve experienced, they’re hungry for it. For me, I was just lukewarm.”
Evans, 38, made his way into the UFC by winning the heavyweight tournament on the second season of The Ultimate Fighter. Following the show’s finale, he immediately returned to light heavyweight, where he went on an undefeated run that included defeating Forrest Griffin for the title.
Evans later lost the belt to Lyoto Machida, and was never able to regain the title, although he did challenge Jones for the belt on one occasion.
At the time of his retirement, Evans’ professional record stands at 19-8-1.