Tentative plans were in place for Rashad Evans to return to action in January where he would face Alexander Gustafsson at an event currently rumored for January, but a lingering knee injury will keep the former light heavyweight champion out of action for a couple more months.
Evans suffered a tear in his anterior cruciate ligament earlier this year and had to undergo surgery to repair the damage. The normal turn around time for this time of injury is usually 10 months to a year.
Evans was progressing well in his recovery and rehabilitation, but a hard week of training to make the final push into a decision about accepting the fight or not didn’t go his way.
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According to UFC Tonight reporter Ariel Helwani who spoke to Evans this week, his knee is still not 100-percent and coming back as early as January wouldn’t be prudent to his long term success.
Evans said his knee still felt unstable and he wasn’t able to explode like he normally would if his leg was completely healthy. With the minor setback, Evans is now anticipating a March return to the Octagon.
As for his potential opponent Alexander Gustafsson, his management team still hopes to get him a fight in January or February, but with Evans out it becomes a waiting game for the UFC to find someone to replace him.
One potential name that came up was Anthony Johnson, who Gustafsson was originally slated to face on December 13 in Phoenix before the former welterweight was indefinitely suspended amidst allegations of domestic violence. Johnson remains on suspension although UFC officials told Helwani a final decision on his future should be made soon.