Both fighters’ careers at a cross-roads ahead of main event.
For both Dan Henderson and Rashad Evans, they approach their fight at UFC 161 this weekend as though it might be their last of any great consequence with the promotion.
The veterans are both coming off less than impressive last-start losses and both need to make a statement if they are to rise towards the top of the light heavyweight division again.
While nobody can dispute their track record, both Evans (17-3-1 MMA, 12-3-1 UFC) and Henderson (29-9 MMA, 6-3 UFC) know title shots only go to fighters with buzz or who are on winning streaks.
Evans has previously feared what a third loss-in-a-row might mean for his career, which is why he has stopped worrying about what might happen and only concentrating on what he can control.
That includes getting the old ‘Suga’ swag back that defined the early part of his career.
“When I go out there and compete, I have to be cocky,” Evans said.
“That’s how I compete. I have to have my swag out there and be like that because that’s a part of me. It’s a part you’d never see of me in regular life because I joke around and smile, and you don’t see that side.
“But when I compete, I want the person I’m fighting to know that he shouldn’t have even signed the contract to fight me. He should be embarrassed, and I want to embarrass him for doing so.
“I turned down the swagger a little because I wanted to be more focused in my competitions.
“But when I did that, I took a little piece away from me. I took a little of that go inside of me that pushed me, that part that made me get into a dogfight with anybody and do anything to get the win.”
Despite the fact Henderson has seemingly found the fountain of youth to still be competing in mixed martial arts at 42, he too needs a comprehensive win badly.
The former PRIDE and Strikeforce champion beleives he did enough to win his last fight against Lyoto Machida, despite the Brazilian frustrating ‘Hendo’ with his evasive skills and ability to strike from the outside.
But Henderson knows his opponent this weekend in Winnipeg, Canada, will not run away, giving him a good chance to use his explosive right hand to end the fight early and put his name higher on the list of contenders for the title, currently held by Jon Jones.
Rashad Evans vs Dan Henderson
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