Former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans has decided to come out of retirement and says he is fully committed to competing in an MMA or boxing event in the near future.
Evans, 41, announced his retirement from MMA in 2018. He told ESPN he is currently targeting a boxing match against former heavyweight champion Roy Jones Jr. or YouTube star Logan Paul. Jones, 52, and Paul, 26, have each participated in an exhibition boxing match recently. Jones did so against Mike Tyson in November, and Paul fought Floyd Mayweather earlier this month.
"Those are the names we came up with," Evans told ESPN. "I've been watching Logan and his brother, Jake, and it's been impressive what they've been able to generate from an audience standpoint. It just kind of bothers me they're out here killing it. I see them fighting these people and I'm just like, 'This can't be real. They're out here really beating people at this?'
"I have a hard time wrapping my mind around it. They can't be this good, and I want to test it out. We've been speaking with Roy [Jones Jr.], and my management has talked to Logan's people, but it's all in the preliminary stages."
Even if Evans (19-8-1), who fought exclusively in the UFC from 2005 to 2018, is unable to land a fight against Jones or one of the Paul brothers, he said he still intends to fight, hopefully this year.
"I'm going to compete again, one way or another," Evans said. "I'm committed to that. I've thought about it, in and out, and I'm ready to compete. I really want it to happen this year."
Evans won the UFC's 205-pound championship in 2008, by defeating Forrest Griffin at UFC 92. He was a staple of the division's top talent for many years, before falling into a five-fight skid to end his MMA career. Although his wish is to return to a boxing match, Evans said he would compete in MMA if the right fight presented itself.
"I'm primarily looking at boxing, but if something came up that made sense as far as MMA, that's what I'm training every day," Evans said. "But it's a different physical tax on my body, versus only doing boxing ... [Money] goes into this decision. I'd be lying if I said it didn't. At the end of the day, I'm a prize fighter. But at the same time, it's not the whole picture. I enjoy competing."
One reason Evans is interested in facing Paul is he believes Mayweather carried him in their recent exhibition bout, which made it appear as though Paul was a better boxer than he truly is.
"Floyd's a businessman and he has business with the Paul brothers," Evans said. "Now, Floyd was very small going into the fight, but do I think he carried him? Yeah. I can't make the argument he wasn't big enough to land anything to knock him out. At the end of the day, Floyd Mayweather is one of the greatest boxers of all time. You put me in a cage against somebody who has the same experience [as Paul], they won't last. Period. So, I do think Floyd took it easy on him."