Prior to the bout, which marked his first since an April loss to champ Jon Jones, Evans told MMAjunkie.com (UFC blog for UFC news, UFC rumors, fighter interviews and event previews/recaps
) he had briefly considered retirement before ultimately deciding he loved the sport and knew he could continue to be competitive at a world-class level.
White, though, said such thoughts can be toxic.
"If that word even comes out of your moth in this business, it's a negative," he told MMAjunkie.com after UFC 156. "It's bad. The fact that he even said the 'R' word shows you where his head is at and what he's thinking."
It's a bit of 180 for White, who just days prior to UFC 156 said he was open to the idea of Evans fighting UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva if victorious against Nogueira. He said he'd consider Evans over top middleweight contender Chris Weidman.
But after Evans' lackluster defeat to Nogueira, White clearly has changed his mind.
"To be honest with you, Rashad and I have a good relationship," he said. "I like Rashad a lot. He's a good guy, a smart guy. But he has lost that hunger. He's lost that desire and drive, and he needs to get it back. There's no doubt about it.
"He needs to get hungry again."
Saturday's performance seemed to be the catalyst for White's remarks. Evans, usually one of the better-conditioned 205-pounders, noticeably slowed toward the end of the fight with Nogueira. His quick footwork, takedowns and aggressiveness also seemed largely absent.
The 10-month layoff surely played a part, but White suggested bigger issues are at play.
"Back in the day, he used to get a little – what's the word I'm looking for? – paranoid," he said. "He was always a little paranoid. But he always did the right thing. He needs to get that fire back. He doesn't have that fire. He needs to get it.
"Rashad used to train like a beast. Rashad never used to get tired. The only time you saw Rashad get tired was when he first came into the UFC and fought Tito (Ortiz) in that first fight. Then after that he turned into an absolute beast. He's gotta get it back."