Staff Photo: John Bohn Rashad Evans, an Ultimate Fighting Championship 146 fighter, attends a press conference in Atlanta on Thursday. Evans will fight Jon Jones in Atlanta during April.
Rashad "Suga" Evans, 32, is a mixed martial arts fighter in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Evans is the former light heavyweight champion in the UFC and will fight Jon "Bones" Jones for the title on April 21 at Philips Arena.
Evans fought at UFC 88 in Atlanta in 2008 and delivered a knockout to UFC legend Chuck Liddell.
Evans is a former college wrestler at Michigan State where he received his bachelor's degree in psychology. The New York native got his break into the UFC when he won The Ultimate Fighter 2, a reality TV show in 2005.
In this latest installment of "Getting to Know ... ," staff writer Brandon Brigman talks to Evans about how the UFC has grown, his hobbies and how much longer he plans to fight.
BB: Last time you were in Atlanta with the UFC, you knocked out Chuck Liddell. What do you remember about that big win?
RE: I remember going into that fight everyone thinking I'm going to get my (butt) whooped. I guess I really have nothing to lose, so (crush) it.
BB: How has the UFC grown in just the last few years?
RE: Every single year it grows. It's gotten to the point it even takes me by surprise when I see the kind of people that come up to me and say what's up. I had a lady in church, an old lady probably about 80 years old, knew all about UFC, knew all about what I was doing and who I was fighting. She watched The Ultimate Fighter and stuff, she was a hardcore MMA fan.
BB: NFL players describe the day after a game like being in a car wreck. What's it like the day after a fight?
RE: It all depends on who you fight. After my last fight, my knee was like messed up for a while and my thighs were sore for a while. It all depends. Sometimes you feel well after a fight, sometimes you don't.
BB: How did you get the nickname "Suga"?
RE: My coach Mike Van Arsdale. He was like you know what, you look like Sugar Ray Robinson sparring out there.
BB: Oh, so it's after the boxer. I thought you had a sugar addiction or something.
RE: (Laughs) I do. I have a sugar problem.
BB: What's your favorite sweet?
RE: Cakes, I like cakes.
BB: Any particular kind?
RE: I like red velvet with the cream cheese topping, you know?
BB: You won the Ultimate Fighter 2 in 2005 and received a big UFC contract and a free car. Do you still have the car?
RE: No, I don't, man. I gave it to my wife and after a while she didn't like it. I liked that car.
BB: When you're not training, what's your favorite meal?
RE: Pizza. I'm simple, I like pizza.
BB: Any particular kind?
RE: I like New York style pizza.
BB: Is there anything you like to do outside of fighting?RE: I love to vacation. I love to chill out, man. I like to chill out on a nice warm tropical place.
BB: What's your favorite spot?
RE: I went to the Bahamas not too long ago. That's a 30-minute flight since I live in South Florida, so it's really nice down there.
BB: Being from the North, anything shock you when you come to the South?
RE: Uh, the people are real hospitable and everyone is kind of cool, laid back. It's a little slower. Not slow like up there (points to head), but everything is like real slow.
BB: If you weren't a fighter, what would be your career right now?
RE: I'd be a police officer. I always wanted to do police work.
BB: Do you think that's something you might do in the future?
RE: It may be hard now with the recognition I have. It may be hard to do some of the things I want to do. I want to be undercover and stuff like that.
BB: You have a degree from Michigan State. Do you think some people might be surprised that you're a fighter and have a college degree?
RE: I think a lot of fighters have college degrees. I think there's a higher rate than people think.
BB: You have two small kids. Do you let them watch you fight?
RE: I'm never there when they are watching it. The caretaker is usually there. They are usually asleep by the time I fight because the fights are so late. Even if they try to stay up, they only can for so long.
BB: Would you want them to follow the same career path?
RE: Yeah, sure. I don't think there's anything wrong with fighting. My little boy he's in the gym all the time. It's just teaching them the right place to do it. He wants to hit and punch everybody in the world. I'm like you can't greet everybody with a punch or a kick. He'll try to do that to everybody. I have to teach him the appropriate way of when to do it.
BB: You're 32, how much longer do you see yourself fighting?
RE: I don't know. However long I'm blessed. I wish I had Dan Henderson genes or Randy Couture genes, then maybe for a while. I want to do it until it's fun, just have fun with it.