Rashad Evans’ victory over Dan Henderson in the UFC 161 headliner did not come easily, but the former champion will take it nonetheless.
Evans snatched a split decision from Henderson on Saturday night at MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, overcoming a first-round knockdown to halt a two-fight skid and earn his first win since January 2012.
“I felt like I needed to get that win desperately,” Evans told Fox Sports. “When you’re fighting somebody like Dan Henderson with your back against the wall, there are a lot of things going around in your head and a lot of things that people say. No matter how strong you are, it still seems to seep in, and you start thinking that you really need to get that win.”
Prior to his win over Henderson, Evans dropped a unanimous verdict to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira this past February in a lackluster three-rounder at UFC 161. The memory of that uncharacteristically poor performance may have been dampened by tonight’s victory, however, especially due to the strength of Evans’ third round against “Hendo.”
“I felt a bit more nervous [tonight]. I just wanted to perform well. Tonight was all about execution. I felt like, as long as I execute, the performance will take care of itself,” said Evans. “I was somewhat [happy with my performance]. I’ve learned in this game to be happy with a win, because they don’t always come. But the critic -- the analyst in me feels like I could have done better and that there were a lot of things that I didn’t do well that I should have. But that’s part of the game. I’m still growing in this sport, and as long as I have the opportunity to fight again, I’ll fix those things I didn’t do right.”
His victory over Henderson now behind him, Evans said he is open to fighting whomever the UFC places in front of him next, including fellow top-10 talent Glover Teixeira.
“Glover said he’d like to fight [tonight’s] winner,” said Evans. “I’m not calling anybody out... but I’m not turning anybody down. I like to fight.”