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Did Rashad Evans' UFC 161 performance inspire confidence in a turnaround towards title contention? Or is he past his days as a contender?
DAN MOORE, MMATORCH UK COLUMNIST
He was far better than he was against Little Nog - but that's not really saying much. He looked in excellent shape and was clearly motivated to win the fight this time. It was also nice to see his reaction when he was announced as the winner. I had him clearly winning 29-28 and there wasn't anything controversial about the decision.
He showed us passion and that hasn't always been evident recently. I don't see him being a contender at light-heavyweight anytime soon though. There are too many other guys who have evolved into better fighters than Evans. However he's still a top six talent - so with a few losses to other guys - he could find himself elevated into a No. 1 contender fight and then anything can happen.
CAMERON LYMAN, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Evans is no longer the fighter he once was. He has lost his drive and killer instinct and will simply remain a top five fighter in the division. I don't see him challenging for a title and actually see him retiring if he gets finished by Glover Teixera which is my prediction if that fight comes together.
C.J. TUTTLE, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
Yes, it inspired a turnaround. Nothing more. He must continue this turnaround and take any and all fights to reach that goal. His comments following the fight backed this and I admired his attitude, in saying he really isn't in any place to turn down any fights. I think he still has something left and confidence will help him maybe earn a title shot someday. The problem is, Jon Jones is in his 20's and champion.
ERIC HOBAUGH, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
He is way past a title run. He is still a big name with good skills, but that alone is not enough to get him back to a title fight. Can he get back? Yes, he can. Will he? Probably not. He is a decent broadcaster and is part owner of the Blackzillians Gym, so if he is done fighting in the near future, he can stay close to the game. I feel he will have two more fights max and then retire.
BRAD WALKER, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
Rashad beat Dan Henderson and probably dashed all hopes of us finally getting Hendo vs Jones, but he looked great in the process. He was hungry and thankfully he looked like the Rashad of old, which could be bad news for everyone else in the division. Rashad at the top of his game is a dominant fighter, now lets have him fight Teixeira and find out who's third in line behind Gustafsson and Machida.
FRANK HYDEN, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
His performance did nothing to make me think that he's a title contender again. It was an ok performance, but nothing that makes you go that far. He needs to put a few more quality wins together. Beating an old and slow Dan Henderson doesn't do much for me.
RICH HANSEN, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
I think his days as a top of the top contender are four years and counting behind him, but I still think he's a top five fighter, albeit one who is going to slowly slide south in the rankings. Lyoto Machida ate his soul, and while he's recovered admirably just to be as close to the top as he is now, I just don't see it.
[Rashad Evans art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
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