Rashad Evans is considering returning to MMA, but not under the UFC banner.
Evans and the UFC have officially parted ways, ESPN reported Friday. Evans, a former UFC light heavyweight champion, retired from the sport in June 2018.
Evans fought out his UFC contract before retiring last year. He and UFC president Dana White have mutually agreed that Evans can move on and fight for a different promotion if he chooses to return.
“He’s been back in the gym, and he’s feeling really good,” Evans’ manager Ali Abdelaziz told ESPN. “I think there are a lot of fights out there for Rashad, and I’ll be talking to other promotions about him shortly.”
Evans said a change in diet is one component in him wanting to fight again.
“I changed my diet after I retired, and it’s drastically changed my body and how I feel,” Evans told ESPN. “I am definitely heavily thinking about coming back.
”I just felt, when it came down to it — I want to make some money in this comeback, and I didn’t know if the UFC was interested. They’re focused on something different. I don’t think they’re into bringing back the older fighters who have retired. They’re into what’s next, what’s new.”
Evans, 39, has lost five in a row. In his last fight before retiring, he suffered a brutal knockout loss to Anthony Smith. In 2017, he dropped down to middleweight but suffered two straight losses there, prompting a return to 205 pounds.
Evans, who held the UFC belt in 2008, holds notable wins over Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz, Quinton Jackson, and Forrest Griffin. He won The Ultimate Fighter 2 in 2005 prior to his successful Octagon career.
Evans was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in July.
He currently serves as an analyst for the UFC.