“Sugar” Rashad Evans (13-1-1) lost his UFC light heavyweight title at the hands of Lyoto Machida (15-0) at UFC 98 in May. Evans was brutally knocked out with a flurry of punches the Brazilian put on him in the second round. It was Evans’ first loss.

Evans appeared as a guest on ESPN 1100 Radio on Thursday and talked about how one bounces back from something like that. “You just accept it for what it was. I went in there and got my butt kicked, hands down (literally), got it whooped,” the former champion said.

Some fighters are never able to recover from knockout losses similar to what Evans experienced. However, Evans insists the knockout is not something he will dwell on, “I never lost before, and to accept what actually happened will help me move on further because now I accepted what happened. I watched the video, and I’ve seen images of it and I’m not haunted by it.”

Fighters who can use their losses as a way to see where they need improvement can not only become champions but legends. Evans said he will learn from his mistakes, “It’s not going to haunt me. It’s going to propel me to move forward and mend the mistakes that allowed me to get knocked out in the first place.”

It is quite possible Evans can rebound from this loss and become better than ever. Georges St. Pierre, after his loss to Matt Serra, went back to the drawing board and not only has he gone undefeated since then, but he has won every fight dominantly and is now being considered in top pound-for-pound discussions.

“I’ll never say I’ll never lose again or get knocked out, but that’s just another side of the fight game I had yet to experience,” said Evans.

Because he had never known defeat, because he had taken shots from such heavy hitters as Chuck Liddell, it is quite possible there was a part of Rashad who thought he was invincible. Not any more.

He spoke about the benefits of this new revelation, “Now I understand that reality is out there, now I understand that can happen to me, I’ll be more vigilant and careful about things that I do allow in my camp that may distract me, or things that I do allow that may take me from where I want to be and may end up for me having results like that.”

At the end of the day Rashad Evans is a champion. Maybe he is not the current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, but he was. He did experience that. And any man that can pick himself up, dust himself off, and keep on going after experiencing what he just went through has the spirit of a champion.

This past Father’s Day, Rashad’s young daughter wanted to make him a gift. She wanted to make him a belt and said to him “Daddy, I was going to get your belt back because you lost it.”

Any man who has that in his life is a champion.

By:  Jack Bratcher

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