Rashad Evans returned to the cage earlier this month at UFC 192 in his first fight in nearly two years, losing a decision to Ryan Bader. While the loss was certainly a setback, Evans is hoping to get back into action soon, and according to a report from Wednesday’s UFC Tonight program on Fox Sports 1, Evans wants to fight Alexander Gustafsson next.
The Swedish light heavyweight dropped a decision to Daniel Cormier in a close title fight in the UFC 192 main event, and Evans believes with both of them losing that the fight makes sense. However, Gustafsson’s management team is saying they want to “settle a few things first,” and would be more interested in the Evans bout down the line.
Evans, the former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, was out of action due to multiple knee injuries, and looked slower and less effective in his return than he had in a two-fight winning streak in 2013. At 36-years-old, he’s hoping to look stronger in his next outing to extend his career.
Penick’s Analysis: That seems like a rough fight for Evans, in all honesty. Despite losses to Jon Jones, Anthony Johnson, and Cormier in three of his last four fights, Gustafsson has been a strong competitor, and his speed and size compared to what Evans showed against Cormier make that a bad stylistic matchup. Evans can try to prove that mindset wrong if he gets that fight, but the UFC might want to see him show something more against a different opponent before setting that up.
[Rashad Evans art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
He shouldn’t be fighting anyone ranked higher than Nogueira. It’s sad when former champions are the last to realize that they’re shot.