The Latest Episodes of INSIGHT with Chris Van Vliet
March 28, 2023

Rashad Evans On Chuck Liddell KO, Hilarious Mike Tyson Impression, Rampage Jackson Beef

Rashad Evans On Chuck Liddell KO, Hilarious Mike Tyson Impression, Rampage Jackson Beef

Apple Podcasts podcast player badge
Spotify podcast player badge
Google Podcasts podcast player badge
PlayerFM podcast player badge
Stitcher podcast player badge
Castro podcast player badge
Goodpods podcast player badge
Castbox podcast player badge
iHeartRadio podcast player badge

"Suga" Rashad Evans (@sugarashadevans) is UFC Hall of Famer and the former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. He joins Chris Van Vliet at the Blue Wire Studios in Las Vegas to talk about growing up in Niagara Falls, NY, how he got started in MMA, getting an offer to appear on Season 2 of The Ultimate Fighter as a Heavyweight, knocking out Chuck Liddell, beating Forrest Griffin to become the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, his beef with Rampage Jackson and settling it on the set of the movie "Boss Level", his function mushroom company called Umbo, does a hilarious impression of Mike Tyson and much more!


Visit Umbo's website:


On Vegas being special for fighters:

“It brings back a lot of memories. When I first started to come here during The Ultimate Fighter days, it just brings back that whole familiarity. My whole fight career for the most part was born in, you know, Vegas. It’s one of those things that every time I come here, as soon as the plane is about to touch down, I feel the butterflies. But then it’s like, oh wait, I don’t gotta fight. Because it just becomes ingrained in you for so long, but it is home to me. I have my routine here in Vegas, and I love it here in Vegas.”   

On what it is like to walk through the curtain:

“Oh man. It’s one of those things where you are battling yourself, and that’s when you realize that competition is not about your opponent, it is all about you. When you are battling yourself and you are sitting in the room 8 hours before you gotta walk out, it’s like fight purgatory. You are just sitting there and battling yourself, the good one on one side and the bad one on each shoulder. You’re battling your mindset. You’re battling those thoughts of giving in. When you get to that point of I’ve got this and you’re confident, you start making that walk. Every once in a while, you know, you train so that you don’t have to think. Like when you are warming up, you don’t think about what will happen, you're just in your routine. As you start to walk, every once in a while, the you comes out, and you’re like oh my God, this is about to happen. When you walk out and the lights hit you, it’s like oh sh*t, this is happening right here and right now, I gotta get ready.”      

On the importance of a routine:

“When you have all eyes on you, it is important to have a routine, because the routine can help to eliminate all of the thinking parts. When you are getting ready to fight, you want to eliminate the thinking component of your mindset. You want to just be able to react, and that is what training is about, it is teaching you to just react.”

On original career plans:

“You know what? I was going to be a police officer, that was what I was going to be. I loved the police officer lifestyle. One of my biggest mentors at the time was my karate teacher, and he was a police cop. I just love the whole mindset of what a cop brings, so I wanted to be a cop.”

On the journey ending:

“Once I graduated from Michigan State I tried to become a police officer but they had a hiring freeze. So I started to work in the hospital as a security guard, biding my time. But then I discovered MMA, which started as a hobby and led me to where I am now.” 

On being on The Ultimate Fighter:

“So Dan Severn was being inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame, and at the time the first season of The Ultimate Fighter had just wrapped. They said that they were going to do a second season of The Ultimate Fighter, do you [Dan Severn] have any talent that you think might be good here? He said yeah I might know a guy. So he reaches out to me and said, Rashad, have you heard of the series The Ultimate Fighter. I’m like, yeah I am crazy about it. He then said, Well they are doing another season, and they want to know if I knew anybody. The problem is that it is heavyweight, and you are like 190 lbs, so there is no way you can do this. I was like no Dan, I can do it. I put on all kinds of weight, I put on 20 lbs, but not good weight. It was mashed potato, mac and cheese, that was what I ate until I got to 220 lbs.”

On the fight that put Rashad Evans on the map:

“I would say it has to be the Chuck Liddell fight. I’ve had great fight with Rampage and feuded with Jon Jones, but the fight with Chuck Liddell was the one that made me realize. I had a couple of KO’s until then, but it was still like eh. I was still being doubted, they were like all you are going to do is wrestle hump people. They were tired of it [decisions]. When I laid that punch out, it was like wow this kid has got some punch. Dealing with fear and uncertainty is something that a lot of fighters fear, they fear it all the time. But not a lot of fighters articulate it, not a lot of fighters would speak on it. Back in the day, to admit that you were afraid and had doubt, that was a taboo thing. It was like you were the shield and be like I will smash him up, be the uber tough guy. But inside, you feel scared, you know. George St. Pierre was one of the first ones who started to speak about how he really felt. He’d be like ‘My God my friend, this is crazy. This is my last fight, I’m done! I’m finished!’ The buildup got into his head, but he would battle out and he would win. When I saw him go through that mental preparation, it was like alright, it is alright to feel these feelings. It is important to ot only train your body, but to train your mind too.”

On the head kick against Sean Salmon:

“It did it [knocked out Salmon] and it came out of nowhere. I was training with Mike Winkeljohn, who has a really good eye on what you can capitalize on. I would train again and again and throw that kick all the time. In the first round, he was just taking me down and I couldn’t land any of the kicks, I was getting embarrassed. That fight was on the launch on Spike TV, and we only had a limited time. The UFC was like yo, this card is going longer than we want it to, we need to finish. Here I am being served up a guy, he wasn’t the original guy I was supposed to fight. I’m going out there and losing the first round. I look over and I see Dana [White], and he has this look when he is disappointed in you, it is worse than your parents. I’m like relax, I got this. So the next round I am p*ssed off, this dude is embarrassing me. Then I saw the opening, I threw it, and I hit him. When he went down, I didn’t know if he was out so I hit him again, and he was super out! Then I got nervous like, what did I just do?”

On beef with Rampage Jackson:

“Oh yeah, there was beef with Rampage. It was to the point where it was almost like on site, like whenever I would see him, we were about to fight. It was like that because I don’t like it when someone tries to raise a leg on me, p*ss on me, you know. If felt like every time I tried to interact with him, he would always try to do that. So I’m like, I’m not going to be your whooping boy, so I’m going to try and be more offensive and take him by surprise. It was a combination of that and us both being in the same room. It got to the point where it spilled over. We were training in Vegas and had to coach, so we would see each other in the same places. One night he jumps in my face, the security guys get involved, and Iget kicked out of the club!”

Are you both Ok now?

“Yeah, we actually just did a movie together called Boss Level. We both play German twins. When I read the script, I was like this is awesome man, I thought it was excellent. But for me, the caveat was getting to work with Rampage. Up until then we were like ok, but we didn’t get to sit down and talk. When you talk to somebody that you fought, it is amazing how you see things from their narrative. It was good to talk to him and bury the hatchet and know him as a person. We are so alike.”

On Sean “Sugar” O’Malley using the same nickname:

“At first I was like hmm, that’s interesting. But I’m like, it’s flattering. If I couldn’t have carried the name sugar then he wouldn’t have picked sugar if there already wasn’t one who was very flavourly. He bit, but that is the age and the time that we are in right now. I look at it as flattery, and I wish the best for the kid, he has made it his own.” 

Who is Rashad Evans now?

“I am at peace, which is something I couldn’t say during my fighting career, which I can't say if that's a good thing or not. Me not being at peace was part of the fuel that allowed me to be such a savage. This is not a civilised game, you are trying to separate a man from consciousness or take a limb home. Not being at peace helped me be successful, but I could have avoided some of the pitfalls.” 

What is Rashad Evans grateful for:

“The ability to be here right now, health and the understanding and relationship I have with God.”