Most combat athletes are extremely competive, almost to a fault, and to retire on top isn't a likely scenario for most, who opt to compete past their prime. Rashad Evans is hoping to not make that mistake and get out of MMA before it retires him:
"I ask myself that all the time," he said. "I was in a place in my career where it just wasn’t fun for me anymore. I made it through that rough patch, because after you’ve seen everything, seen behind the curtain of Oz, it kind of changes the way you feel about it. By that I mean, you see how the whole system works, you see the politics in it, and to not be bogged down by the politics of the sport and still keeping your competitive nature, it was hard for me at first.
"But now, I’ve got a different mindset when it comes to competing. I’ve got a different mindset when it comes to just dealing with the politics of the sport and everything else. It’s helped me get a different appreciation for it. I want to keep on fighting as long as my body allows me to. As long as God gives me the ability to keep on fighting."
Evans pointed to his Blackzilians teammate Vitor Belfort’s "second leg of excitement" at 36 years old as an example. He said Belfort’s mindset was the difference in his resurgence, which helped provide him the cues to get out of the funk he was in.
"I want to be able to retire before the sport retires me," he said. "But at the same time, I don’t want to leave the sport until I’m competitively satisfied."