Newly inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame, ‘Suga’ Rashad Evans says his infamous knockout of Chuck Liddell is the moment that stands out most from his storied career.
Las Vegas, NV — Ultimate Fighter 2 winner. UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. Now, add Hall of Fame member to Rashad Evans’ resume. ‘Suga’ was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame on Friday, an earthquake hitting during his acceptance speech. It was almost fitting, given how Evans (19–8–1) shook up the 205lb weight class during his run to the top.
Having retired last year, Evans was able to reflect on his path to the Hall with Cageside Press following the ceremony Friday. And the light heavyweight great was absolutely beaming, smiling ear to ear. “It’s hard putting it into words to be honest,” he told us. “I’m just grateful.”
“My journey in the sport is one that, it still inspires me, when I think about it,” he added. “I’m just grateful to be able to go out there and make an impact like I have.”
That impact included wins over the likes of Stephan Bonnar, Forrest Griffin, Tito Ortiz, Michael Bisping, and Chuck Liddell. Asked to pick the most memorable of the bunch, Evans settled on the Iceman.
“It’s gotta be the Chuck Liddell fight, no doubt about it.” Evans knockout of a fellow great at UFC 88 sent Liddell into a downward spiral in the octagon from which he never recovered. The fight stands out, however, “because, not only the way the fight ended, but just because I went and I faced myself. And that was really the first time I faced myself in that capacity. That was a big moment for me.”
“And to beat somebody like Chuck Liddell, who I have so much respect for, and even to this day, Chuck Liddell is still a beast — it was amazing.” Evans would win the title in his very next fight. The moment that made him stronger, however, in terms of his overall career, wasn’t a win, but a loss.
“I would say it was the first time I lost. The first time I lost was really the moment that changed me,” he recalled. That came against Lyoto Machida, who defeated Evans to win the UFC light heavyweight title. “I lost, and I got embarrassed. It was in that moment that I was like ‘okay, what kind of fighter do I want to be?’ And then I started to rebuild myself, and then made another comeback to have another run at it.”