Rashad Evans ‘rejuvenated’ for MMA return at Eagle FC 44

    UFC Hall of Famer Rashad Evans is rapidly approaching his first fight in more than 3.5 years, and he feels good about his decision to come out of retirement.

    Evans (19-8-1), who meets Gabriel Checco (12-5) in a light heavyweight bout at Eagle FC 44 on Jan. 28 in Miami, will step back in the cage after a long absence from the sport. At 42, many will question why he’s doing it, but Evans said he’s totally “rejuvenated” and is returning to competition for the right reasons.

    “I’ve been trying to get myself into a fight for a while now,” Evans told MMA Junkie Radio. “(I’ve been) just training with it for a while, having fun with it and came to the point where I’m like, ‘Maybe we’ll get a few more in and see what happens.’ (I’m) just excited. It’s been a lot of fun to get back into it and to start to train again like old times.”

    The run leading up to Evans’ retirement was far from ideal. The former UFC light heavyweight champion and Season 2 winner of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series lost five consecutive fights to end his memorable UFC career, albeit to some top competition including Anthony Smith, current champion Glover Teixeira and current Bellator heavyweight champ Ryan Bader.

    Evans was approaching his 40th birthday at the time he hung up the gloves, and despite the losses stacking up on paper, he said his choice to retire never sat completely right.

    “When I got done from competing, I felt as if, like, I didn’t really give everything that I could give,” Evans said. “I kind of stopped not when it was my biggest choice to. I more or less stopped based on just the emotion of how I was feeling at the time. I couldn’t really figure things out on a certain level and I was like, ‘I can’t compete like this.’ As soon as I did some soul-searching and just kind of figuring some things out with myself, I got the desire to compete again.”

    As Evans enters this next chapter of his career and life, he said he’s not going to limit himself as to what’s possible. He envisions more than one fight in his future, but said it’s all going to depend on how the clash with Checco plays out.

    “It can definitely be more than one time,” Evans said. “For sure it can be more than one time. But I’m 42 years old, so I just take my time – take it one fight at a time.”

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