It could be said that UFC light heavyweight contender Rashad Evans is having a rough go at it: he was forced out of a title shot with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua after injuring his knee in training, was replaced in that fight by his younger teammate Jon Jones and was then forced to endure criticism from his boss UFC president Dana White over both his style and earlier decision to wait out “Shogun’s” knee surgery.
Evans spoke at length with BloodyElbow.com recently and addressed another possible source of angst in his life, his inconsistent or sometimes flat performances in the cage.
“The thing that keeps me from showing people how well rounded my skills are comes down to the fact that when I get in there I don’t always execute everything I’m capable of,” Evans told BloodyElbow. “A lot of people when they roll around and grapple with me for the first time are shocked because they weren’t aware that I knew how to grapple like that. Or not even think that I’m that decent at it where I’m pretty good at rolling. Some people don’t realize where my striking is at but I can stand up and strike with the best of them.”
“Suga” explained that his occasional inability to string it all together results from a kind of mental block, a hesitance to fully engage as a result of not having developed full confidence in his abilities.
“The thing about the game of mixed martial arts is that you have to really be comfortable to get in there and let it all blend together. It’s just a mental thing and turning that cage into your playground. When you go out there to fight you have to make it your playground and I can admit there have been times when I haven’t done that,” he said. “You have to go out there and enjoy yourself to the point where you can do whatever you want because you have the freedom of knowing no matter how the skill comes across I’ll be able to recover. I’m still missing that little piece before I can really transform myself into the fighter that I know I can be. That’s the motivation and that’s what pushes me to keep on going is the simple fact that nobody has really seen me fight yet.”