Former UFC Champion Rashad Evans Set To Make Combat Jiu-Jitsu Debut

The upcoming Combat Jiu-Jitsu (CJJ) Worlds event has added another UFC legend. First, CJJ founder Eddie Bravo announced that former UFC title challenger and longtime MMA fan-favorite Donald Cerrone would soon be making his CJJ debut. On Friday, the promotion announced that former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans will also be making his CJJ debut on the same card. The event is scheduled for December 19 in Cancun, Mexico.

Evans did not receive an easy opponent in his first-ever CJJ match; he’ll be taking on current CJJ champion Ryan Aitken. Aitken is a physically imposing athlete that seems to have mastered the balance between throwing strikes during a CJJ match and attacking with grappling-only techniques.

Although Aitken is the more experienced CJJ and BJJ competitor, Evans will bring decades of high level wrestling and MMA experience to the table. A black belt in BJJ under Rolles Gracie, Evans was a Division 1 wrestler for Michigan State University before he transitioned to full-time MMA. In 2005, just five fights into his professional career, Evans won Season 2 of The Ultimate Fighter as a heavyweight. He would then rack up seven wins in the UFC before capturing the light heavyweight title from Forest Griffin in 2008. Evans then lost the title six months later when he was knocked out by Lyoto Machida.

In 2012, Evans unsuccessfully challenged Jon Jones for the UFC title. After that, he struggled to find consistency, winning just two of his final eight bouts. Evans has not competed since suffering a knockout loss to Anthony Smith in 2018.

How to watch: The Combat Jiu-Jitsu Worlds take place on Sunday, December and will air live on UFC Fightpass (subscription required).

Ben Coate

Ben has been involved with grappling, whether through wrestling or Brazilian jiu-jitsu, essentially his entire life. After wrestling throughout his childhood, Ben found Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a young adult and quickly fell in love. He has been training for over ten years and currently holds the rank of brown belt, and remains involved in both the MMA and BJJ scene. Ben has been writing about combat sports since 2017. He has interviewed and profiled some of MMA's biggest stars, including multiple UFC champions.

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