UFC 225: Rashad Evans Moving Back to Light Heavyweight Against Anthony Smith

Rashad Evans UFC
Credit: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

Former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans has ended his middleweight experiment, and will head back to 205lbs at UFC 225.

Rashad Evans, the struggling former UFC light heavyweight champion, is returning to the weight class in which he made his name. ‘Suga’ has been booked into a bout at 205lbs against Anthony Smith, ESPN reported Monday. The fight will take place at UFC 225 in Chicago this June, marking Evans’ first trip to the octagon since August of last year.

The Smith bout puts an end to a two-fight stint at 185lbs for Rashad Evans, who won the UFC light heavyweight championship against Forrest Griffin at UFC 92 in 2008. He’d lose it in his very next fight against Lyoto Machida, and nearly ten years later, those days seem like a distant memory. Evans (19–7–1) has lost four straight bouts, split evenly between middleweight and light heavyweight. He dropped to 185lbs following a loss to Glover Teixeira in 2016, only to lose a pair of split decisions at middleweight. Those losses came to Dan Kelly and Sam Alvey, and are apparently enough to send Evans back up to his usual stomping grounds.

At age thirty-eight and with retirement looming, the Smith fight comes at an interesting time for Rashad Evans. In 2016, an irregularity on an MRI of his brain kept him out of fights at UFC 205 and 206. Evans eventually was allowed back in the cage, after it was noted that the irregularity was something he’d had his entire career. Yet he has continued to struggle in the octagon. Evans is just 2-6 over his last eight fights, with his wins coming against Chael Sonnen and Dan Henderson, one now out of the promotion, and the other retired.

The former champ, however, has transitioned to a broadcasting gig with FOX for UFC events. Meaning fighting at this point isn’t exactly a necessity.

Opponent Anthony Smith (28–13) is 3-2 in his current UFC run (he also appeared in a single fight back in 2013, which he lost). He’ll enter UFC 225 coming off a TKO loss to Thiago Santos, and should be highly motivated to get back in the win column with a victory over a former champ.

UFC 225 takes place June 9 at the United Center in Chicago, IL.