ByJim Edwards, writer at
MMA story chaser from the UK
Jim Edwards

It's been tough times for lately, but he's not giving up.

Evans’ last win came back in 2013 when he defeated Chael Sonnen at UFC 167. Since then, Evans has gone 0-3 with losses to Ryan Bader, Glover Teixeira, and Daniel Kelly. Something needed to change and Evans has done exactly that.

The former UFC light heavyweight champion is now training with Mark Henry in New Jersey, alongside the likes of Frankie Edgar, Eddie Alvarez and Corey Anderson. Speaking exclusively to earlier this week, Evans explained why he made the move.

“I started training back with Mark in around 2013 when I was training for Chael and we had really good chemistry,” Evans said. “Honestly, I’m not trying to pump his tires, but he’s probably when one of the best coaches I’ve ever had. He’s somebody that pays attention to detail and he can really put together a great gameplan and he can really dig down into a problem you have and try and fix it.”

Training with Henry is no easy out for Evans. The former champion has been forced to make several adjustments that have taken him out of his comfort zone.

“I’ve been here for a little over three weeks and it’s good, really good,” Evans said. “The thing with Mark is, Mark is such a perfectionist so there are times when you just don’t think anything you do is ever good enough. Like the first couple of sessions I walked away and I was like, ‘Damn I guess I really don’t know how to fight,’ but that’s part of it you know. He’s trying to bring that best out of me and sometimes that means you've got to do the unlayering process. It’s scary, you know—when you’re taking away and stripping away some of the things you know, but then you realize those things weren’t good for you. I’m growing in so many areas.”

Evans is scheduled to face on August 5 at UFC Fight Night 114, and while he has been involved in heated rivalries before, this won’t be one of them.

“Sam is a guy they brought to me,” Evans said. “Sam Alvey is a guy that I really respect and I really like to watch him fight. I love the spirit of him—I think he’s like my spirit animal because he’s always so happy. He just goes out there and he loves to perform and that’s what I need. I need a fight where I can go out there and fight someone who’s going to push a pace, be tough, but at the same time have positive energy and come to fight.”

Having started his career back in 2004, Evans has experienced plenty of ups and downs. His latest run of form hasn’t been easy to take, but he’s adamant there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

“Honestly, it’s not so much about what he does,” Evans said. “It’s just about me doing what I’ve got to do and getting back to the fighter that everyone knows me as. I feel over the last few fights, that through circumstance or whatever, I haven’t been myself in the Octagon competing, you know. It’s been frustrating because I love the sport, but you have your ups and your downs and you've got to be able to take your downs as well as your ups. There are times when the downs are a long grind and you don’t know when they’re going to end, but you've just got to keep your head in a positive way and focus in your heart and your mind what you truly want and then go do it.”

With a positive state of mind, Evans now has it very clear what he wishes to still achieve.

“I want one last run before I hang up the gloves,” Evans said. “Then, I’ll move on to the next phase of my life. I love to fight, I love other things in life, too. I think I’ve grown in other areas, I’ve got other interests like being an analyst and helping out other fighters. Just doing things like that. Those are things that give me life outside of fighting. Still being able fight is just an added bonus.”

Evans vs. Alvey goes down on August 5 at UFC Fight Night 114. The event will be headlined by Sergio Pettis vs. Brandon Moreno.

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