It has been an option that Rashad Evans has flirted with before; at one point, it was believed that he was actually going to do it. The option of discussion is Evans moving to the middleweight division. No matter if he walks out of UFC 167 a winner or a loser, Evans should move down to the middleweight division following his fight with Chael Sonnen.
It might sound crazy that a man who is ranked fourth in the light heavyweight division by the UFC and third in the division by ESPN should change the scenery, but Evans’ chances at a title at light heavyweight are over. His chance to hold another UFC title is also growing smaller and smaller with each fight.
Evans is 5-3 since earning his first championship back in 2008, which he lost in his next fight to Lyoto Machida. He recently suffered back-to-back losses to champion Jon Jones and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira before rebounding against the much slower Dan Henderson.
Being 3-2 in your last five fights is no way to secure a rematch against Jones. It’s time for a change. By moving down in weight, Evans would open himself to greener pastures. Currently, the middleweight division is limited to about three real contenders for the title (not including Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman).
Though Evans is concerned with making weight, his body frame is built for the middleweight division. He would most likely lose the speed advantage he possesses over some of the fighters at light heavyweight, but he would gain that back in strength.
With his wrestling skills and his decent boxing to set up the take down, there are few opponents who could handle Evans in the middleweight division. Weidman, Silva, Vitor Belfort and Ronaldo Souza are the select few who would give Suga some problems.
At this point in his career, Evans has nothing to lose in trying out a new weight class. If he loses to Sonnen, that may be his only option. Dana White doesn’t like gatekeepers, and if Evans doesn’t watch out, he will become one.