|Born||Rashad Anton Evans|
September 25, 1979
Niagara Falls, New York, United States
|Height||5 ft 11 in (180 cm)|
|Weight||205 lb (93 kg; 14 st 9 lb)|
Light Heavyweight (2004–2016, 2018)
|Reach||75 in (191 cm)|
|Fighting out of||Boca Raton, Florida, United States|
|Rank||Black belt in no gi Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Rolles Gracie |
Black belt in Gaidojutsu
|Wrestling||NCAA Division I Wrestling|
|Years active||2003–2018, 2021-present|
|Mixed martial arts record|
|University||Michigan State University |
Niagara County C.C.
|Notable relatives||Lance Evans, brother|
|Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog|
last updated on: July 22, 2011
|Representing the Michigan State Spartans|
|Big Ten Championships|
|2003 Ohio||174 lb|
Rashad Anton Evans (born September 25, 1979) is an American retired mixed martial artist. Evans started his professional career in 2003, he was the Heavyweight winner of The Ultimate Fighter 2 and is also a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, and a 2019 inductee of the UFC Hall of Fame.
Wrestling out of Niagara-Wheatfield High School in Sanborn, New York, Evans twice made it to the state finals tournament of New York by winning his weight class for his region, in which he received All-State honors both times. In 1997 he placed 4th in the state at 145 pounds. In 1998 he placed 4th in the state at 171 pounds. In 1999 he entered the National Junior College Athletic Association National Championships for the 165 pound weight class in which he finished in 4th place. Competing once again at this tournament in 2000, he was the champion of the 165 pound weight class.
Moving on to the NCAA Division I wrestling, Evans competed for Michigan State, in the Big Ten conference. In 2002 he finished in 4th place in the conference championships, losing a decision to fellow future UFC competitor Jacob Volkmann in the third place match. In addition to Volkmann, this 174 pound weight class also saw more future UFC competitors with Gerald Harris and Josh Koscheck competing in it this year. In 2003, Evans again competed in the 174 pound weight class, capturing 3rd place in the Big Ten Championships. Entering the NCAA Division 1 championships on top of this 3rd-place finish, Evans won his opening match before losing a close 3–0 decision to the eventual national champion, Robbie Waller. Staying alive through the consolation bracket Evans pinned his next opponent before being matched up with legend Greg Jones, a 3x National Champion who would finish his college career with a record of 126–4. Evans won the match via 3–2 decision, becoming one of only 4 people to defeat Jones in his college career. Evans lost his next match to Purdue's Ryan Lange, in which a win would have qualified him for All-American status, in a close 3–2 decision, ending his college career. He finished his career at Michigan State with a record of 48 wins and 34 losses.
In 2004, under the tutelage of future UFC Hall of Famer Dan Severn, 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. Rashad Evans is also a black belt in Gaidojutsu and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and studied karate as a child.
At 5 feet 10.5 inches (1.791 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.
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' 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 docked 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, which for various reasons due to with scheduling the fight, didn't occur until 4 years later at UFC 133.
Unable to get a rematch with Ortiz due to scheduling issues, Evans made his debut as a headliner on a pay-per-view event at UFC 78 instead, 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' 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.
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, Evans was matched with James Irvin. When Irvin pulled out after breaking his foot, the fight was removed from the card altogether. After the fight, UFC President Dana White confirmed in the post-event press conference that Evans' next fight would be a title shot against newly crowned light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin at UFC 92.
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 punches inside Griffin's guard. 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.
Evans's first defense of the UFC Light Heavyweight title against challenger Lyoto Machida ended in a knockout. During a flurry of punches from Machida, Evans started trash talking Machida telling him 'his hands were made of pillows'. Machida continued his onslaught, knocking the champion out. A photograph of Evans's face during the knockout became an infamous meme called "Shad face" among MMA fans. This was the first loss of his career and the 15th straight win of Lyoto Machida's career. Then, Evans went on to coach against Rampage Jackson in The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights. Evans was scheduled to fight Jackson on December 12, 2009 at UFC 107, but this was canceled due to Jackson being cast for the A-Team movie. On September 22, 2009, Jackson wrote in a blog on his website that he is "done fighting" because of events that occurred between Jackson and Dana White, the president of the UFC. Thiago Silva was named as Evans' next opponent at UFC 108.
Evans fought 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. During the Spike TV broadcast of the UFC 108 preliminary card, Evans confirmed that he received his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt under Rolles Gracie that morning. 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, but Evans failed to damage Silva substantially while on the ground. In the third round, after severely mocking his opponent's fighting style with various taunts, Silva connected with a right hook to Evans' jaw, rocking him. Silva hesitated in finishing Evans off in order to return the taunting, however, and Evans was able to recover leading to a UD win. Evans was expected to finally face rival Quinton Jackson at UFC 113, but the bout took place on May 29, 2010 at UFC 114.
Evans caught Jackson with a right hand early in the first round and throughout the rest of the fight tried to take Jackson down, succeeding three times out of nine. In the third round Evans was hurt by Jackson but recovered and ended the final round with another takedown and strikes on the ground. The judges scored the bout 30–27, 30–27, 29–28 giving Evans the unanimous decision. Afterwards UFC President Dana White then officially confirmed that Evans would square off against Maurício Rua for the UFC Light Heavyweight title, but not until mid-Spring or early-Summer of 2011 as Rua recovered from knee surgery. The fight was then booked for the main event of UFC 128 when the UFC returned to Newark, New Jersey.
Following Evans's training partner Jon Jones's victory over Ryan Bader at UFC 126, it was announced that Evans injured his knee during training. Jones was then told in his post-fight interview that the UFC wanted him to replace Evans in his fight against Mauricio Rua for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. Jones accepted and the fight was set for UFC 128. It was then expected that if Jones won, he would face Evans in his first title defense.
During a UFC 128 post-fight interview with Ariel Helwani, Evans stated that he was done training at Jackson's Martial Arts in preparation for his fight with Jon Jones. He then commenced training at Imperial Athletics in Boca Raton, Florida, at a new camp co-founded by Evans and several Brazilian fighters who had concomitantly left American Top Team due to a dispute over management services; these were later joined by some African-American fighters, and as a result the camp's members became known colloquially as the "Blackzilians", especially on Twitter. Evans gave further insight to MMAWeekly about his leaving Jackson's Submission Fighting, "When you get to a certain point, you really need a lot of time (with the coaches)… make sure you get the one-on-one, and you just need different things," he explained. "After being at Jackson's for a while, with so many people at the gym, it just got harder and harder for me to get that time."
Evans/Jones was expected to take place on August 6, 2011 at UFC 133, but Jones was sidelined with a hand injury. Evans was expected to face rising prospect Phil Davis at the event instead. A title fight between José Aldo and Chad Mendes was delayed, so the UFC promoted Evans vs. Davis to serve as the main event. However, with less than four weeks until the event, Davis pulled out of the bout citing a knee injury. A rematch with Tito Ortiz was scheduled to headline the event. Evans defeated Ortiz at UFC 133 via TKO in the second round. The victory secured Evans a title shot against Jones.
Evans and Jones were rumoured to finally clash on December 10, 2011 at UFC 140. However, a lingering thumb injury cost Evans another title opportunity, and he was replaced by Lyoto Machida to fight Jon Jones for the belt at UFC 140. Jones retained the Light Heavyweight belt, defeating the challenger Machida, which left open the possibility of a future fight between Evans and Jones for the title.
Evans faced Phil Davis on January 28, 2012 at UFC on Fox 2. He won the fight via unanimous decision. Evans out-wrestled the former division one national wrestling champion landing numerous takedowns throughout the fight.
In his second title shot, Evans, at long last, faced UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones on April 21, 2012 at UFC 145. Evans lost to Jones via unanimous decision.
In his first post-title shot fight, Evans faced Antônio Rogério Nogueira in the co-main event at UFC 156 on February 2, 2013. Nogueira won the fight via unanimous decision.
Evans faced Dan Henderson on June 15, 2013 in the main event at UFC 161. He won the fight by split decision.
Evans faced Chael Sonnen at UFC 167 in a Light Heavyweight bout on November 16, 2013 in the co-main event of the evening. He won the fight via TKO in the first round.
Evans was expected to face Daniel Cormier at UFC 170 on February 22, 2014. However, a leg injury knocked him off the card just 10 days before the event. Originally expected to be out for a month, Evans was instead sidelined indefinitely.
Evans was linked to a potential bout with Alexander Gustafsson on January 24, 2015 at UFC on Fox 14. However, Evans announced was not ready to accept a fight during that time frame as he was still rehabilitating a lingering knee injury.
Evans was expected to face Glover Teixeira on February 22, 2015 at UFC Fight Night 61. However, on January 7, Teixeira pulled out of the bout citing a slow to heal knee injury that he had sustained in his last fight. In turn, Evans was removed from the event entirely. A heavyweight bout between Antônio Silva and Frank Mir, previously scheduled for UFC 184, took place a week earlier and headlined the event.
Evans announced in mid-February 2015 that he expected to be sidelined an additional six to sevens months after undergoing another knee surgery and hoped to return by the end of 2015.
Evans faced Ryan Bader on October 3, 2015 at UFC 192. He lost the fight via unanimous decision.
A long discussed bout against Maurício Rua was rescheduled and was expected to take place on April 16, 2016 at UFC on Fox 19. However, Rua was pulled from the fight on March 9 in favor of a matchup with Corey Anderson a couple of weeks later at UFC 198 and was replaced by former title challenger Glover Teixeira. Evans lost the fight via knockout in the first round.
Evans was expected to face Tim Kennedy in a middleweight bout on November 12, 2016 at UFC 205. However, on November 8, Evans was pulled from the fight after an undisclosed irregularity was found during his pre-fight medical exam. Subsequently, Kennedy was removed from the card as well. The bout was quickly rescheduled and was expected to take place a month later at UFC 206. Once again, Evans was unable to obtain medical clearance to compete on the card and was pulled from the bout on November 21. An irregularity in his pre-fight tests was responsible for both removals and he is expected to undergo an additional screening with an neurologist to prove he is healthy enough to fight, before possibly returning to the cage in January or February, according to his manager. The Ultimate Fighter: Team Jones vs. Team Sonnen middleweight winner Kelvin Gastelum was his eventual replacement on the card.
Evans faced Dan Kelly on March 4, 2017 at UFC 209. He lost the back-and-forth fight via split decision.
Evans faced Sam Alvey on August 5, 2017 at UFC Fight Night 114. He lost the fight by split decision.
Evans faced Anthony Smith in a light heavyweight bout on June 9, 2018 at UFC 225. He lost the fight via knockout in the first round.
On June 25, 2018, Evans announced his retirement from MMA.
On May 18, 2019, Evans was announced to be inducted into UFC Hall of Fame on July 5, 2019.
On September 20, 2019, news surfaced that by his request, Evans was released from the UFC in order to pursue a return from retirement in another organization.
Evans and his ex-wife have one son and a daughter. He also has a daughter from a previous relationship and a son who was born in 2015. On New Year's Eve 2020, Evans' wife Celiana gave birth to their son Solaris.
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.
Evans 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. Evans was a frequent commentator on the ESPN show MMA Live. Evans also made an appearance on Spike TV's show Deadliest Warrior. In the episode, Evans easily pierces a pig carcass with the xyston similar to one used by Alexander the Great, and crushed a gel torso's throat with an elbow.
|Professional record breakdown|
|28 matches||19 wins||8 losses|
|Loss||19–8–1||Anthony Smith||KO (knee)||UFC 225||June 9, 2018||1||0:53||Chicago, Illinois, United States||Return to Light Heavyweight.|
|Loss||19–7–1||Sam Alvey||Decision (split)||UFC Fight Night: Pettis vs. Moreno||August 5, 2017||3||5:00||Mexico City, Mexico|
|Loss||19–6–1||Daniel Kelly||Decision (split)||UFC 209||March 4, 2017||3||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Middleweight debut.|
|Loss||19–5–1||Glover Teixeira||KO (punches)||UFC on Fox: Teixeira vs. Evans||April 16, 2016||1||1:48||Tampa, Florida, United States|
|Loss||19–4–1||Ryan Bader||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 192||October 3, 2015||3||5:00||Houston, Texas, United States|
|Win||19–3–1||Chael Sonnen||TKO (punches)||UFC 167||November 16, 2013||1||4:05||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||18–3–1||Dan Henderson||Decision (split)||UFC 161||June 15, 2013||3||5:00||Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada|
|Loss||17–3–1||Antônio Rogério Nogueira||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 156||February 2, 2013||3||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Loss||17–2–1||Jon Jones||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 145||April 21, 2012||5||5:00||Atlanta, Georgia, United States||For the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.|
|Win||17–1–1||Phil Davis||Decision (unanimous)||UFC on Fox: Evans vs. Davis||January 28, 2012||5||5:00||Chicago, Illinois, United States||UFC Light Heavyweight title eliminator.|
|Win||16–1–1||Tito Ortiz||TKO (knee to the body and punches)||UFC 133||August 6, 2011||2||4:48||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States||Fight of the Night.|
|Win||15–1–1||Quinton Jackson||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 114||May 29, 2010||3||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||14–1–1||Thiago Silva||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 108||January 2, 2010||3||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Loss||13–1–1||Lyoto Machida||KO (punches)||UFC 98||May 23, 2009||2||3:57||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Lost the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.|
|Win||13–0–1||Forrest Griffin||TKO (punches)||UFC 92||December 27, 2008||3||2:46||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Won the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. Fight of the Night.|
|Win||12–0–1||Chuck Liddell||KO (punch)||UFC 88||September 6, 2008||2||1:51||Atlanta, Georgia, United States||Knockout of the Night.|
|Win||11–0–1||Michael Bisping||Decision (split)||UFC 78||November 17, 2007||3||5:00||Newark, New Jersey, United States|
|Draw||10–0–1||Tito Ortiz||Draw (unanimous)||UFC 73||July 7, 2007||3||5:00||Sacramento, California, United States||Ortiz was deducted one point in round 2 for grabbing the fence.|
|Win||10–0||Sean Salmon||KO (head kick and punches)||UFC Fight Night: Evans vs. Salmon||January 25, 2007||2||1:06||Hollywood, Florida, United States||Knockout of the Night.|
|Win||9–0||Jason Lambert||KO (punches)||UFC 63||September 23, 2006||2||2:22||Anaheim, California, United States|
|Win||8–0||Stephan Bonnar||Decision (majority)||UFC Ultimate Fight Night 5||June 28, 2006||3||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Win||7–0||Sam Hoger||Decision (split)||UFC Ultimate Fight Night 4||April 6, 2006||3||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Return to Light Heavyweight.|
|Win||6–0||Brad Imes||Decision (split)||The Ultimate Fighter 2 Finale||November 5, 2005||3||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Won The Ultimate Fighter 2 Heavyweight Tournament.|
|Win||5–0||Jaime Jara||Decision (unanimous)||GC 27: FightFest 2||June 3, 2004||3||5:00||Colusa, California, United States||Won the Gladiator Challenge Light Heavyweight Tournament.|
|Win||4–0||Hector Ramirez||Decision (unanimous)||GC 27: FightFest 2||June 3, 2004||2||5:00||Colusa, California, United States|
|Win||3–0||Bryan Pardoe||TKO (punches)||GC 26: FightFest 1||June 2, 2004||1||3:24||Colusa, California, United States|
|Win||2–0||Danny Anderson||TKO (punches)||Dangerzone: Cage Fighting||April 10, 2004||1||3:09||Osceola, Iowa, United States|
|Win||1–0||Dennis Reed||Submission (anaconda choke)||1||0:50|
|Professional record breakdown|
|3 matches||3 wins||0 losses|
|Win||3–0||Keith Jardine||Decision (unanimous)||The Ultimate Fighter 2||October 31, 2005 (air date)||3||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||TUF 2 Semi-finals bout.|
|Win||2–0||Mike Whitehead||Decision (unanimous)||October 17, 2005 (air date)||3||5:00||TUF 2 Quarter-finals bout.|
|Win||1–0||Tom Murphy||Decision (unanimous)||September 19, 2005 (air date)||3||5:00||TUF 2 elimination round.|
|7 July 2007||Ortiz vs. Evans (co)||UFC 73||425,000|
|17 November 2007||Evans vs. Bisping||UFC 78||400,000|
|6 September 2008||Liddell vs. Evans||UFC 88||480,000|
|27 December 2008||Griffin vs. Evans||UFC 92||1,000,000|
|23 May 2009||Evans vs. Machida||UFC 98||635,000|
|2 January 2010||Evans vs. Silva||UFC 108||300,000|
|29 May 2010||Rampage vs. Evans||UFC 114||1,050,000|
|6 August 2011||Evans vs. Ortiz||UFC 133||310,000|
|21 April 2012||Jones vs. Evans||UFC 145||700,000|
|2 February 2013||Evans vs. Nogueira (co)||UFC 156||330,000|
|15 June 2013||Evans vs. Henderson||UFC 161||140,000|
|16 November 2013||Evans vs. Sonnen (co)||UFC 167||630,000|